Nicole Kidman is reportedly the top pick to play the villain in Disney's Cruella, a live-action movie starring Emma Stone as a young Cruella De Vil. The Mouse House's live-action remakes of films like The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast have been extremely profitable at the box office, and the studio has no plans to stop re-imagining its animated classics anytime soon. In fact, there are three such films planned for 2019 alone, starting with Tim Burton's Dumbo at the end of the month.
While Burton's Alice in Wonderland kicked off this modern trend of remakes in 2010, Disney had already re-imagined 101 Dalmatians in live-action fourteen years earlier, with Glenn Close starring as the fur coat-loving villainess Cruella De Vil. The upcoming Cruella winds the clock back to the 1970s, when Cruella was a kindly Londoner known as simply Estella. As such, the movie will need a different character to serve as its villain.
Kidman is the top choice to play Cruella's antagonist. Details on the role are scarce to be found, but the character is said to be essential to Estella's transformation into Cruella. Other big names that are being eyed for the part include Emma Thompson, Charlize Theron, Demi Moore, and Julianne Moore.
The Oscar-winning Kidman would be a great choice to play an older Cruella, but a role as the villain in the character's origin story will have to suffice instead. Kidman has several big projects arriving this year, including HBO's Big Little Lies season 2, The Goldfinch, and the untitled Roger Ailes biopic(where she plays Gretchen Carlson).
THS reports that Disney wants to get Cruella into production by July or August for a 2020 release. Kidman should be taking a break from promoting her other films and TV shows by then, so scheduling is unlikely to be an obstacle here.
Cruella is currently getting a script rewrite by Tony McNamara (who worked with Stone on The Favourite), with I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie set to call the shots. Both McNamara and Gillespie have experience at telling captivating stories about complicated and sometimes downright terrible women, so their involvement on this film is promising.
By the sound of it, Cruella smartly won't try to emulate Maleficent and portray its namesake as being something other than a villain, either. Estella might not start off bad but, by the time the movie's antagonist is through with her, it appears that she'll have become the fur coat-loving menace that everyone knows all too well.