In a trend straight out of comic book movies, Emma Stone will soon be seen in an origin story for one of the most famous villains in animation, Cruella de Vil. The character has been an enduring part of pop culture for decades and was played to great acclaim by Glenn Close in 1996's 101 Dalmatians and its sequel. In a recent interview, the costume designer for Cruella, Jenny Beavan was asked if Close's iconic looks from her movies informed the visual style of Stone's take on the character. According to Beavan, only the color scheme remains the same between Stone and Close's two Cruellas.
"Because it's an origin movie and those two are where our film sort of ends up, but probably 10 years after because that was set in the '90s and we were '70s, so even later, in 20 years. So, no, other than the fact that, you know, the Cruella character does seem to be defined by black and white, and obviously, there's a bit of red that comes in and the Dalmatians are an important part of it. But no, I didn't really."
The original 101 Dalmatians novel and the cartoons and live-action movies based on it that introduced the world to Cruella were squarely aimed at children. The upcoming Cruella, on the other hand, seems to be a gritty reimagining of the central character and appears more grounded in the real world. So much so that Stone's character is not even named Cruella, but Estella.
Instead of being the scheming maker of dog coats that was Cruella in past films, Estella is an aspiring costume designer. After being rejected by London high society for her daring creations, Estella plots her comeback, which involves taking down the main villain of the film, Baroness von Hellman, played by Emma Thompson.
And so Estella aka Cruella is set up as more of an anti-hero than a villain, and her clothing is less obviously villainous than what we saw in past versions of the character. Beavan goes on to explain that the closest association between Cruella as portrayed by Emma Stone and Glenn Close is that the former will become the latter somewhere down the line.
"I did look at Jasper and Horace, particularly in the animation, and felt that there was something lovely about the way they were drawn and their colors. So, I slightly brought that into Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser's costumes. But they were probably the most influenced in any way by the animation. I just wanted to sort of make sure that you could believe that, eventually, [Emma Stone] could become Glenn Close. That was about as far as my influence went."
If Cruella turns out to be a success, it will be entertaining to see if Disney tries to turn the whole thing into a franchise, leading up to a 101 Dalmatians reboot where Cruella is given a sympathetic reason for wanting to use the skin of the Dalmatians to make a fur coat. Directed by Craig Gillespie, Cruella stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry, and Emily Beecham. The film arrives in theaters and on Disney+ Premiere Access on May 28. This news originated at ComicBook.com.