Given the success that Disney has had in recent years with taking some of their classic stories and/or characters and setting them in a live-action setting, it makes total sense that the studio has several of these projects in development. One such project is Cruella, a live-action origin story for the 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella De Vil. That project has just taken a major leap forward as Disney has reportedly honed in on a director for the project.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mozart in the Jungle co-creator and accomplished theater director Alex Timbers is in negotiations to direct the live-action Cruella De Vil movie for Disney. He doesn't have much experience when it comes to directing feature films, but Alex Timbers does have a resume that seems to support a project like Cruella. He was nominated for two Tony Awards for his work directing Peter and the Star Catcher, a play that served as a prequel to Peter Pan, as well as directing and writing the book for the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Outside of his Broadaway experience, Alex Timbers created Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle series with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman. The show won for best television series in the comedy/musical category at the Golden Globes this year and just scored another nomination earlier this week. The show also is rooted in music, as Cruella is said to be, so it makes a lot of sense on paper. The movie is described as "having both strong fashion and music sensibilities," and will be set in the 80s.
Emma Stone is currently attached to play De Vil in the movie, which has worked out pretty well time wise for Disney. She is currently getting a lot of awards nomination and has emerged as an Oscar favorite for her work in the musical La La Land. With all of the attention she is getting for that movie, it can only benefit Cruella to have her on board. Especially if she does go on to win the Oscar for Best Actress this year. "Academy Award winner Emma Stone" will probably look pretty good on the poster.
This project is a little different than Disney's more recent, successful live-action endeavours, which have been more or less remakes of classic animated tales like The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast. Cruella De Vil made her debut in the animated version of 101 Dalmatians back in 1961, but Glenn Close did play her in the 1996 live-action 101 Dalmations. This, instead, will be a prequel/origin story and will be crafting a new story entirely centered on the famous Disney villain. Now that the project has a director (assuming the negotiations go well) and a script from Fifty Shades of Grey writer Kelly Marcel, the project will likely move forward, but Disney has yet to set a release date for Cruella.