It's easy to not be excited about upcoming shows in this era where an overwhelming number of remakes and reboots are continuously being churned out. Thankfully, Disney's offering something more interesting on the table with their upcoming live-action film Cruella. More than just a remake, this one, revealed in Disney's D23 Expo, is set to be a prequel for One Hundred And One Dalmatians. Yup, that's right — the storyline of your fave Disney classic will be expanded to show us the origin story of the terrifying villain Cruella de Vil, played by none other than Emma Stone.
Emma has quite the boots to fill following Glenn Close’s haunting yet iconic performance as Cruella in the 1996 adaptation of the film. But unlike the 101 Dalmatians films we love, this prequel live-action would be set in a different age. We'll be taken back by director Craig Gillespie to punk-rock '70s London. The iconic villain will be stripped off of her iconic ‘20s high-fashion glamour. But who would Cruella be without all that? Well, here are some of our speculations.
Amidst the punk-rock scene
We know that Cruella is going to be punk-rock. But what does that really mean? One theory is that this film is going to be a musical, which isn’t surprising as Disney has done tons of films in that genre. But judging by her clothes and from the vibe the whole sneak peek photo Dinsey showed, it also looks as if Cruella and her sidekicks are on the cover of a rock album. With that, perhaps it’s also safe to speculate that they might be in a punk-rock band of their own. We know that it seems totally off from the original plot, but it would also be interesting to see how that would play out if ever. We’re sure Emma could handle any of that given her performance in La La Land.
A distaste for music
Speaking of music, in the original animated film, Cruella de Vil totally mocked and made fun of how Roger Radcliffe made a living by writing songs. It’s possible that Cruella’s distaste for Roger’s career stems from her own unfulfilled dreams in the music scene. Tying that up with the rock band theory, maybe Cruella wasn’t able to achieve her dreams as a musician and grew bitter about it in the course of years.
Switch to fur
Despite appearing as menacing, Emma’s first appearance as Cruella de Vil doesn’t seem to fit her signature fur-clad look yet. While she already has that infamous black-and-white hair and heavy purple makeup, she’s still wearing dark leather. Her obsession with fur isn’t present yet, and we’re expecting to see how that would all start in the upcoming prequel. More likely than not, it would be a more empathetic take on her beginnings like Disney did with Maleficent in 2014. A hurtful betrayal from a friend that pushed her to exact her revenge? We think so.
It’s also possible that her motives won’t be fuelled by a simple hatred for dogs. In the past adaptations, she specifically sought out puppies who had finally grown soft spotted fur. If you can recall in the 1961 film, she was dismayed by the lack of spots during the puppies’ early stages of development. Maybe it’s a wholly unrelated traumatic event — of which she can only remember Dalmatian-like spots — that triggered Cruella. Simply put, we’re just hoping it wouldn’t be another of those unreasonably cruel psychopath tropes people love to mishandle.
Like in Maleficent, maybe Disney hopes to re-invent Cruella de Vil’s character too. The misunderstood villain trope, while kind of cliché, still doesn’t fail at tugging at people’s hearts. Instead of stealing Dalmatian pups for her coat, maybe Cruella took them to save them from abusive owners but was misunderstood instead. That could easily explain Emma Stone’s lack of fur-free clothing, won’t it?
The changed Cruella
Whether she changes for the worse or not, we’re speculating that we’ll most likely see an older Cruella at the end of the film. Two Emmas were cast in the film: Emma Stone as the younger, punkish Cruella and Emma Thompson in an undisclosed role. Fingers crossed, we’ll see Emma Thompson as the older Cruella de Vil, giving us a glimpse of her changed life.
Honestly, it’s hard to sympathise with a villain who has no acceptable motive for skinning cute puppies. So it’s intriguing that Disney took on the challenge of re-inventing Cruella de Vil’s terrifying character. Cruella has just started filming and is not set to hit our silver screens until 2021, but even as early as now, we can’t wait to see how they’ll make us love the cruel villain who was the stuff of our nightmares.
(Cover photo from: twitter.com/Disney)