Hot off hosting Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Late Night star Emma Thompson is in early talks to join Emma Stone in Disney’s live-action movie Cruella, which tells the origin story of 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil, Collider has confirmed.
Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) is directing from a script by Tony McNamara and Dana Fox. Marc Platt and Kristin Burr are producing along with Andrew Gunn, and Disney will release the movie on Dec. 23, 2020.
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.
In the original 1961 animated classic, Cruella was a villain obsessed with capturing the titular dogs, and the new film will explain why dogs are so important to the character’s backstory. Cruella was previously played by Glenn Close in a 1996 live-action movie and its 2000 sequel.
Thompson, who won an Oscar for 1992’s Howards End, seems like a perfect fit to play the antagonist in Cruella, and she’s no stranger to Disney fairy tales, having played Mrs. Potts in 2017’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Thompson also starred opposite Tom Hanks in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, in which she played Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers.
Thomspon next stars alongside Mindy Kaling in the Amazon Studios comedy Late Night, which is one of the best films I’ve seen all year. It hits theaters on June 7, the same day as Thompson’s other summer movie, Men in Black: International. She’s represented by CAA and Hamilton Hodell, and her casting was first reported by Variety.