Disney has seen success in recent years by pulling characters from its collection of animated classics and giving them a live-action spin. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland headed the charge in 2010; then, Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as the titular villainess, arrived in 2014 and Cinderella hit theaters earlier this year. Now, many more live-action Disney properties are in the works, including Cruella, based on Cruella de Vil, the puppy pelt-wearing villain of 101 Dalmatians.
Already slated with release dates are Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book and the Muppets director James Bobin-helmed sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, both in 2016, with Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast arriving the following year. Now, it seems the studio is fast-tracking Cruella to potentially be the next live-action release taking one of the dates announced by Disney at New York Comic Con 2015.
THR is reporting that Disney has tapped Fifty Shades of Grey and Saving Mr. Banks screenwriter Kelly Marcel to pen Cruella. She will be working with Steve Zissis, who co-created the well-received HBO comedy-drama Togetherness. The earliest the film will arrive is December 22nd, 2017, though Cruella could also take one of the following release dates that’ve been claimed specifically for Disney’s live-action fairy tale adaptations: November 2nd, 2018, March 29th, 2019, or November 18th, 2019.
Other live-action projects in the works at Disney include another retelling from Burton, this time focused on the flying elephant Dumbo; a Tinker Bell film starring Reese Witherspoon; and a live-action feature film devoted to Prince Charming’s not-so-charming brother. Additionally in development are new live-action versions of Mulan, Winnie the Pooh, Sword in the Stone, Pinocchio, and Fantasia.
While The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast seem to be straight adaptations of their animated counterparts, Cruella is following in the footsteps of Maleficent by putting a twist on the fairy tale and focusing on the villain. With so many live-action adaptations in works, taking different paths on some films such as focusing on the villain or a side character like Prince Charming’s brother, could prevent audiences from feeling fatigued by so many fairy tale films.
Additionally, Marcel seems to be a good choice for Cruella given her work on the family film Saving Mr. Banks, and her attempt to properly adapt Fifty Shades of Grey despite the complications of the movie’s production process. Zissis, meanwhile, has worked on Togetherness and helped to create a series that blends humor with drama. With these two on board to write the script, Cruella could potentially tap into the zany evilness of the villain while offering a compelling character story. That being said, though, it’s still very early on in development on Cruella – and we won’t know more about the film until a direct and cast are named.
Cruella is in development, stay tuned to Screen Rant for more information as it becomes available.