There’s No One Crueler Than Cruella

Set to hit theaters on May 28, Emma Stone takes on the challenge of portraying Disney’s most infamous villain: Cruella de Vil.


Jane Gatzemeyer, Writer-East

She’s the woman every pet owner loves to hate. She’s evil. She’s conniving. She’s Cruella.

Cruella de Vil is the fictional villain  from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. Next Friday (May 28), movie theaters across the nation will be releasing a live action version: Cruella. Here, audiences get to learn more about Cruella’s life before 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians. The actress taking on this role is Emma Stone, who has been in multiple blockbuster hits: The Amazing Spiderman (½), The Croods, Zombieland, Easy A, The Help, and so many more. But, this may be her most challenging role yet.

“I remember watching 101 Dalmatians when I was younger with my family,” recalls an ecstatic Max Grove, a sophomore at Elkhart-East. “I was always entertained by it, even though I haven’t watched it in years.”

From what can be seen in the trailer, Cruella has a Harley Quinn/Bellatrix/The Queen of Hearts type look. With her dramatic makeup over extremely pale skin, some people have even been comparing her to the Joker, saying, “She looks like the new female version”—which is probably what she wants either way, right?

“When I heard about it and decided to watch the trailer that they released, it looked very action-packed and exciting!” Grove exclaims.  “It’s definitely something I would watch.

One of the most notable differences between 101 Dalmatians and Cruella is the age difference for the Cruella character. In 101 Dalmatians, Cruella—who is played by Glenn Close—is portrayed as being quite old. But in Cruella, she appears much younger. In fact, Emma Stone is 16 years younger than Glenn Close was when she starred in 101 Dalmatians. That goes hand-in-hand with the fact that this movie is portraying the younger Cruella. Will she prove to be more wicked when she was younger—or when she was older?

Another notable difference is the time period. The movie is set in the 1970’s, which is known as the “Polyester Decade.”  Thus, viewers will see lots of that decade’s styles in this movie. This story follows Cruella’s path to becoming a huge criminal. In the process, Cruella has a dream of becoming a great fashion designer, and showing a new, fun approach to the fashion world, all still whilst being incredibly wicked.

To give readers an idea of the type of movie it will be: Pirates of the Caribbean (The Curse of the Black Pearl), and Star Wars (The Rise of Skywalker) are the type of maturity level that Cruella is on. Although anyone can go see PG-13 movies without needing an adult, this movie features some “thematic elements” that warrant the “Parents Strongly Cautioned” PG-13 rating. Yes, it is a Disney film, but it has a much darker tone than other movies. Her name is Cruel(la) for a reason!

When Disney released that rating, it can’t help but make people wonder just how dark the movie will actually be! Cruella is a very evil villainess character, so it’s good that Disney isn’t dimming down how bad of a person she really is. She, indeed, has a mental illness called “Histrionic Personality Disorder.” She acts incredulously and desires attention whilst looking down upon others. Thus, Cruella doesn’t have good relationships with people unless she’s only doing it to get what she wants out of them. 

For movie-goers, Cruella is everything they love to hate in a character, making the anticipation for this movie all the greater. “I heard there could possibly be a movie coming out about Cruella, but wasn’t sure it’d actually happen because of COVID,” Grove concludes, “but I was wrong–which is great!”

Put it on the calendar: May 28.