Down on May 28, Disney is rolling out the red, black and white carpet for Cruella de Vil in a new live-action adaptation starring Emma Stone. The trailer for the film, simply titled Cruella, shows no sign of 101 Dalmatians running for their lives from the fashion-conscious Queen of Meanness.
It is only about her rise – or fall – to the person most fans know today. But a quick look at Cruella and her nemesis in this 2021 iteration is somewhat reminiscent of two other antagonists from another film, The Devil Wears Prada.
How in common do Cruella and Anne Hathaway’s Andrea Sachs have?
Cruella” is full of high fashion and haughtiness.
A long way from the animated, cigarette-smoking, red-eyed villain version from the 1961 Disney classic, this Cruella starts young and unspent. Trailers for Cruella feature her trademark Bugatti and monochromatic hair, but there’s also plenty of haute couture, hat pins and snobbery.
Disney’s logline says the story is set in 1970s London and follows Estella (Emma Stone), an ambitious and extremely talented fashion designer trying to get her foot in the door.
Someday, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson, two-time Oscar® winner), a fashion legend who is stunningly chic and frighteningly haute. But their relationship sets in motion a series of events and revelations that lead Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the rough, fashionable and vengeful Cruella.
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As fans watched the two trailers for Cruella, many commented that the characters bear similarities to Miranda Priestly and Andrea Sachs.
Like Andy, Cruella also starts out as a subordinate.
Think back to 2006’s “The Devil Wears Prada” and remember a sharp but nervous Andrea/Andy entering the Runway office for the first time. She’s smart, but a little mousy and naive, and not used to the hard-nosed world of fashion media.
Andy quickly learns that Miranda, played by Meryl Streep, is demanding, rude and manipulative. She regularly humiliates, degrades and insults her employees in front of others. And fashion – the job – always comes first, no matter who falls by the wayside. Remember the trip to Paris?
Over the course of the film, Andy changes for the worse, but she still manages to land back on Earth in the end without turning into Miranda. But it was a close call. She leaves the job with her skills intact and heads off to a new gig.
Cruella has a few things in common with Andy. She comes in as an aspiring, talented designer named Estella whose craft is belittled by the Baroness. She too must endure bullying at work and learns to stand on her own two feet. But something causes her to snap.
Unlike Andy, Cruella is … cruel
Where Andy and Cruella differ in their paths is that one decides to walk away, and the other plays hardball. Yes, they both come from humble beginnings, but they are not the same.
Viewers will see the rise of Cruella as she takes revenge on the Baroness of Hellman. There will be fire. There will be fashion. And like the original Disney film, there will be fast-paced rides.
Will this be the wild version of The Devil Wears Prada, with the new employee initiating a hostile takeover of her boss’s position? Some fans think so and are looking forward to it. In a 2019 interview with Vogue, Stone confirmed that this incarnation of Cruella is punk-rock, glamorous and tough.
Cruella hits theaters and Disney+ on May 28.