As Disney already has a live-action adaptation of 101 DALMATIANS under their belts in the 1996 film which starred Glenn Close as Cruella del Vil, they elected to go the prequel route this time around for an origin story focusing on Cruella herself.
Emma Stone has long been attached to play the title role, and now Variety has reported that Emma Thompson (MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL) is in early talks to join her. Variety wouldn’t make any guesses as to which role Thompson would be playing, but based on past reports, it’s likely that she would play the Baroness, “an antagonist to Cruella who’s thought to be pivotal in her transformation to the villain we know today.” Collider had a few more plot details which may shed a little more light on the film:
Set in London in the high fashion world of the 1970’s, Cruella finds Stone playing a brilliant clothing designer who nonetheless toils as a lowly department store worker. One day, a posh woman known as the Baroness enters the store, wearing Cruella’s special locket that was given to her by her mother — one that Cruella lost on the same night her mother passed away at the Baroness’ estate. She promptly decides she’ll do whatever it takes to get her locket back from the Baroness, including crashing her glitzy ball.
It still seems a little odd to build a film around a character who we know will go on to obsess over skinning puppies, but hey, I suppose Disney made MALEFICENT work. Craig Gillespie (I, TONYA) will direct CRUELLA and production will likely get underway later this year for a December 23, 2020 release. This wouldn’t be Emma Thompson‘s first time taking part in one of Disney’s many live-action adaptations, as she also played the role of Mrs. Potts in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST two years ago. Emma Thompson will next be seen in LATE NIGHT alongside Mindy Kaling on June 7, 2019, followed by MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL on June 14, 2019. ‘Tis the month of Thompson.