Though Emma Stone takes over for Glenn Close as the lead in 2021’s Cruella, the 101 Dalmatians villain is still aboard Disney’s dazzling reimagining.
Those paying close attention to Disney’s Cruella credits may have caught Glenn Close’s name — but why is this the case? In a pattern first established by Stephen Sommers’ 1994 The Jungle Book movie, Disney has enjoyed sturdy box office returns from its practice of creating live-action remakes of its old animated properties. The latest Disney live-action origin story of villain Cruella bears the greatest similarity to Maleficent (2014) in narrative approach as the latest action-packed reimagining of a pre-existing Disney IP.
Set in London during the punk rock subculture movement of the 1970s, Cruella centers on Estella Miller (Emma Stone), an aspiring protege in the world of fashion not above increasingly unscrupulous methods. As Miller’s journey unfolds she explores the path that will lead her to become a notorious fashion designer known as Cruella de Vil, and in doing so reshapes the image of a quintessential Disney villain. Stone, in particular, received singular praise from critics, who cited her salacious charm as a high note for female empowerment outside of the typical Disney narrative framework.
While Disney’s live-action Cruella adds many new wrinkles to the classic 101 Dalmations villainess and reshapes her into the unlikeliest of role models, this latest Disney origin story contains ample nods to prior Cruella De Vil performances. The most overt of these is former Cruella Glenn Close’s inclusion on the production team, who famously played the schemed fashion icon in 101 Dalmatians (1996) and 102 Dalmatians (2000). Here’s why Glenn Close is in Cruella‘s closing credits, as well as how both versions of Cruella De Vil’s character compare.
Why Glenn Close Is In The Cruella 2021 Credits
While Glenn Close’s face is undoubtedly synonymous with the first two live-action Dalmatian films as the alluringly wicked Cruella De Vil, Cruella’s premise ruled out her reprisal of the role from the off. Because the 2021 Cruella film is set around a focus on the character’s origins, Close was unable to play a young “Estella” some 20 years after her last outing. Instead, she takes on the more amorphous title of executive producer, likely given to her as the role-originator, so to speak. In fact, Emma Stone, who plays Estella/Cruella in the new movie, also receives an executive producer Cruella credit, which, in her case, is because her name and brand were invaluable to the process of getting the film greenlit and making it marketable. In this way, the executive producer title is both incredibly versatile, but often less directly involved in the production itself.
Executive producer credits are usually given to those who fall into one or both of two categories: the organizing individuals serving as financiers of a project, or industry veterans whose clout helps get a project made. Many times, actors (as with Cruella‘s Emma Stone) arrive with venerable bodies of work and industry connections to serve both of these roles as executive producers. Along with getting a project greenlit, they can also help shape the creative direction of the film. Glenn Close, herself, has over 10 such credits to her name since 1991 (including the Cruella credits) and is a more hands-on producer, giving direction to Stone on the titular character’s mannerisms, motivations, and posture during Cruella‘s filming process.
Is Emma Stone’s Cruella The Same as Glenn Close’s Version
Whereas Glenn Close’s Cruella De Vil was delightfully hammy and followed the arc of the original animated film, Emma Stone’s is far more innovative with the character in exploring her origins as an aspiring fashion designer in late-1970s London. Close’s Cruella presents as a quintessential antagonist often robbed of her senses, while Stone’s (now confirmed to return) Cruella portrait is far more affable and compelling as a modern, antiheroic role model. Although both Cruella De Vil versions are technically the same character within the Disney canon, they are windows into completely different time periods that show alternate paths of her character journey — something the story in Cruella 2 could potentially address. Cruella shows many of the inherent traits that eventually drive its titular protagonist to evil in 101 Dalmatians, but her fledgling fashion journey is no less of a sight to behold because of this.
- Cruella (2021)Release date: May 28, 2021
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