Disney may have finally found a director for Cruella. The studio is running through their library of animated properties and giving them "new" tellings in the live-action setting. One of these projects is an origin movie starring Oscar-winner Emma Stone as 101 Dalmations villain Cruella de Vil.
Development on Cruella began when Disney was first putting these live-action remakes in motion. The Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna was the first to be hired to script the project back in 2013. After two years of being stuck in development hell, Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey) was hired to take over scripting duties. She was not the last one to take a crack at the screenplay though, as Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow) then rewrote the script a few years back. Despite the constant turnover behind-the-scenes, Disney has not lost interest in the project, since Stone remained committed.
Deadline is now reporting that I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie is in talks to direct Cruella for Disney. These talks are expected to close soon as Disney has decided to move quickly on the film now. Pre-production is set to begin immediately, so that filming can actually begin next year. Butterworth's script is confirmed to be the latest installment that got the project moving, so this will be the version Gillespie takes control of.
Gillespie is not the first director to board Cruella though, and it appears he's actually set to takeover the reigns. Disney previously hired Mozart in the Jungle co-creator Alex Timbers to direct the film in late 2016. However, the fast-tracked timeline of the production has made it impossible for Timbers to remain involved. Gillespie is now stepping in to take over, and will hit the ground running.
After pulling Oscar-worthy performances out of Margot Robbie and Allison Janney in I, Tonya, it'll be exciting to see what Gillespie can get out of Stone in this wicked role. It's not immediately clear why Disney now feels urgency to get Cruella moving after all this time, but it could be the result of their main star growing a bit restless. Stone has been attached to star in the movie for years, and as her name continues to grow, her schedule continues to fill up and make this project potentially harder to fit in. Stone will film Zombieland 2 early next year, so it appears Disney could be planning to take the next slot in Stone's schedule. A 2019 start to production could put Cruella on track for a 2020 or 2021 release date. After sometimes going years without an update, it looks like this should be the first of many Cruella updates to come in the near future.