Well. It’s Friday! What better way to celebrate than by delivering more news surrounding everybody’s least favorite topic: Disney’s live-action remakes!
Three weeks ago, it was reported that Christopher Robin, Disney’s Hook-inspired take on their Winnie the Pooh franchise, had secured a director in Marc Foster (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace, World War Z). Now, news has broke this week of another upcoming live-action remake in Disney’s slate filling in the director’s chair (and a little more).
Deadline has revealed that Alex Timbers, best known now as the co-creator of Amazon’s original series Mozart in the Jungle, is in negotiations to direct Cruella for the studio.
Furthermore, actress Emma Stone – who just received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in La La Land – is currently circling the titular starring role (she’s actually been attached to the film for quite some time).
Assuming that all goes well with said negotiations (and Stone gets locked in for the role), Disney hopes to start production on Cruella early next year, with Timbers directing from a recent screenplay draft by Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Get On Up, Black Mass, Spectre). Andrew Gunn and Marc Platt – who’s also producing Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and Snow White, for those keeping score at home – will produce this film.
If Alex Timbers’ name sounds familiar to some Frozen fans, that’s because he was originally set to direct the Broadway musical adaptation of the animated film before he bowed out last Summer.
Which brings me to my next point: asides from Mozart in the Jungle, Timbers has loads of experience in the Broadway world, directing hit-makers like Here Lies Love, Oh, Hello on Broadway, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Peter and the Starcatchers.
So does this mean that Cruella will be a musical (or will have musical elements). I’d say there’s a possibility, not least of which because Emma Stone herself is coming off of a critically-acclaimed musical film (which was also produced by Marc Platt). Also, Mozart in the Jungle, while not necessarily a musical show, does have musical elements, so there’s that.
As for the film itself, Cruella will serve as a prequel story focusing on the origins of Cruella De Vil, the central villainess of 101 Dalmations and one of Disney’s most iconic villains. According to a separate piece by The Hollywood Reporter, the film will reportedly be a period piece set sometime during the 80’s.
If Emma Stone is indeed cast in the role, she’ll be the forth actress to portray her in live-action. Glenn Close famously portrayed the character in the 1996 live-action 101 Dalmations film and it’s 2000 sequel 102 Dalmations. On TV, Victoria Smurfit recently portrayed the character on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, while Wendy Raquel Robinson played a version of the character in Disney Channel’s 2015 TV film Descendants (fun fact: Wendy was the first African-American actress in the role).
If Cruella does start production early next year as promised, the earliest the film could possibly be slotted in for is March 29, 2019 (one of four release dates that were reserved by Disney for their live-action remakes). That date would position the film to open a few weeks after Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel and Universal Studios/DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 3.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to Cruella? Is Emma Stone the right choice for the role?