One of Disney’s greatest baddies gets the live-action treatment in Cruella, the latest from director Craig Gillespie.

The daringly fashionable puppy killer from One Hundred and One Dalmatians is an instantly recognizable portrait of evil, so thoroughly bad that I’m not sure anyone has given a second thought to how she got so cruel. Most of us probably assumed she’d always been that way, but Disney has decided to give her a backstory with at least a little ramp up to her thoroughly despicable state. She still looks plenty evil in this prequel to the animated hit, and wallowing in that, I suppose, is this movie’s real purpose.

source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

There’s an inevitable amount of camp required in converting the black and white-haired fur aficionado to live-action, and Gillespie is an unexpected choice to thread that tonal needle. Sure, he was pitch-perfect with Lars and the Real Girl, but since his career has been up and down with features like Million Dollar ArmThe Finest Hours, and I, Tonya.

His star is a big piece of the puzzle, and he’s got a solid lead in Emma Stone. She’ll be chasing the absolutely perfect camp performance of Glenn Close in the ’90s live-action adaptation of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, as will basically this entire film. You can’t overstate how gloriously weird Close was in that movie (for my money it’s one of her greatest performances, and yes, I’ll die on that hill if I must), and from the look of this trailer, Cruella is trying to channel the same zaniness. That means it’s likely to be either incredible or terrible, but probably not boring.

Cruella is directed by Craig Gillespie and stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, and Mark Strong. It will be released in theaters in the US and the UK on May 28th, 2021. For international release dates, click here.

Will you prepare for those dogs with Disney (and kill two for matching clogs)?

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