Brilliant. Bad. A little bit mad. Hello, Cruel World. Starting Friday, August 27, Disney+ subscribers will be able to enjoy Disney’s “Cruella.” All the fun, fashion and edge served up by Academy Award® winners Emma Stone and Emma Thompson will be available for streaming again and again, exclusively on Disney+.
Academy Award® winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. “Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar® winner Emma Thompson (“Howard’s End,” “Sense and Sensibility”). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
“Cruella” stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie, with screenplay by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara, story by Aline Brosh McKenna and Kelly Marcel & Steve Zissis, based upon the novel “The One Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Dodie Smith. “Cruella” is produced by Andrew Gunn, Marc Platt and Kristin Burr, p.g.a., with Emma Stone, Michelle Wright, Jared LeBoff and Glenn Close serving as executive producers.
Summary: A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.
Cinema Release Dates: 27th May 2021 (Australia), 28th May 2021 (UK), 28th May 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: USA, UK
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenwriter: Dana Fox, Tony McNamara
Cast: Emily Beecham (Catherine/Maid), Maeve Chadwick (Estella (Toddler)), Neil Chadwick (Estella (Toddler)), Grecia De la Paz (Miss Venezuela), Jamie Demetriou (Gerald), Steve Edge (Steven The Jewellery Shop Assistant), Joel Fry (Jasper), Billie Gadson (Estella (Age 5)), Ziggy Gardner (Jasper (12 yrs)), Paul Walter Hauser (Horace), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Anita Darling), Florisa Kamara (Anita (12 yrs)), Andrew Leung (Jeffrey), John McCree (Artie), Joseph McDonald (Horace (12 yrs)), Kayvan Novak (Roger), Abraham Popoola (George), Sid Sagar (Mark), Tipper Seifert-Cleveland (Estella (12 yrs)), Tim Steed (Frederick), Emma Stone (Estella/Cruella), Mark Strong (John The Valet), Emma Thompson (The Baroness), Tom Turner (The Baron)
Disney have just pulled off one of the biggest surprises of 2021. I was one of those people who was wondering what all the fuss was about when Disney first announced that they were making a film that would explore the beginnings of one of their vilest villains – the dog killer Cruella de Vil. Of course this isn’t the first time that the House Of Mouse have brought out an origins story for one of their villains, in fact as far as fantasy films go I quite enjoyed the original Malificent.
The problem for me really was how could they possibly create a film where I would have any sort of empathy for a character that even my Disney Encyclopaedia refers to as someone who has ‘murderous intentions towards puppies.’ Well not only did Disney make me feel empathy towards Ms de Vil in Cruella they have made a film I fell in love with and am now saying is one of the best films of 2021.
Directed by Craig Gillespie (I Tonya) Cruella shows a very different side to a character that it seems could have been more intriguing on screen over the years. Here de Vil is depicted as a talented fashion designer who can drift between the talented and mild mannered Estelle (Emma Stone – Easy A) and the revenge-fuelled Cruella depending on what buttons of her’s have been pushed.
The film shows her as a young girl witnessing the death of her mother and then finding her way in life by teaming up with petty thieves Jasper (Joel Fry – Yesterday) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser – Richard Jewell). The three treat each like family and they have a merry existence with small crimes while Estelle does what she can to try and be noticed in the fashion world. Then everything falls together nicely when she is spotted by fashion royalty – The Baroness (Emma Thompson – Love Actually). And that is when the real fun and crime begins.
For me to go into all of the in and outs of the plot would be criminal because part of the magic that I found with this film was going on the journey of twists and turns with Estelle. Every scene is like a Pandora’s box exposing more of the secrets and lies that have surrounded her whole life and the screenplay is written in such a way that you see the emotional strain pushing Estelle closer and closer to becoming Cruella. Yes, to a certain extent some areas of Cruella actually mirror Joker.
The strong point of this film is the ambience of it. There is a strong Gothic English feel that is further enhanced by a look and feel that is normally reserved for a Wes Anderson film. That dark ambience then crosses over into the brash feeling of a Sex Pistols video clip as Cruella comes to life and embraces the alternative fashion of the period alongside her new-found friend Artie (John McCrea – Dracula).
Adding to the wild vibe of 1970s London is an amazing soundtrack that consists of tracks by The Clash, David Bowie right through to Doris Day and everything in-between. The soundtrack is seriously so good that I had added it on Spotify before I even made it back to the car after watching the film.
Bringing everything into place though is the cast. Emma Stone shines in a role where she gets to embrace both good and evil, she is reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and plays well opposite Emma Thompson’s portrayal of the mean-spirited and cruel The Baroness. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Haueser also steal the scenes they are in while Mark Strong (Shazam!) once again comes to the fore as the film’s tough guy.
I may have gone into Cruella sceptical about the film but I came out of it completely in love. This is an absolute Gothic spectacular that I sincerely hope comes to the stage one day. Tome the film felt like a brilliant cross-between the original Oliver Twist and Joker and the result is one of Disney’s best ever films. I can’t wait to experience it again.