Disney has unveiled the first-look image for Cruella. The Mouse House has produced several live-action remakes of its animated classics in recent years, with everything from The Lion King to the studio's 1941 feature Dumbo getting a makeover. However, long before this current trend took off, the studio re-imagined its animated 101 Dalmatians movie as a live-action film. Released in 1996, the retelling starred Glenn Close as the iconic fur-loving villain Cruella de Vil.
The Mouse House is now returning to the 101 Dalmatians well with Cruella, a prequel set in 1970s London. Emma Stone is starring in the film as a young Cruella, with Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) directing and Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser costarring as Cruella's henchmen, Jasper and Horace. With production on the movie getting underway, Disney decided to reveal the first photo from the film during its D23 Expo in Anaheim.
You can check out the first official photo of Stone, Fy, and Hauser in Cruella in the space below.
Stone, in a video message to the D23 crowd, described Cruella as having a punk-rock vibe. Official details have yet to be released, but the film is said to focus on Cruella when she was still a wannabe fashion designer known as Estella. The screenplay by Tony McNamara (The Favourite) and Dana Fox (Isn't It Romantic) reportedly picks up with Estella when she's working as a department store clerk struggling to gain attention for her clothing designer talents. But when she realizes her late mother's prized locket was stolen by her wealthy former employer, The Baroness (Emma Thompson), Estella sets out to get it back and make a name for herself, all at once.
Cruella is unique among Disney's live-action remakes, in the sense that it's technically an original story and not a retelling of 101 Dalmatians. The '70s punk-rock vibe of Cruella's costume is certainly interesting, as are the people working behind the camera. Gillespie has teamed up with the Mouse House before on the true story-inspired Million Dollar Arm and The Finest Hours, but both of those films were fairly conventional inspirational dramas. Cruella, on the other hand, seems to have more in common with one of the director's off-beat efforts like Lars and the Real Girl or his Tonya Harding biopic. There's no guarantee audiences will like what Cruella has to offer, but at least the movie is trying to bring something new to the table (more so than Disney's other live-action retellings, anyway).
Cruella opens in U.S. theaters on May 28, 2021.