Cruella release date: Latest news about the Disney prequel film

Everything you need to know about the upcoming film starring Disney’s most fashionable villain.

Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action CRUELLA. Photo by Laurie Sparham. © 2021 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserve

The live-action Disney Classics trend shows no signs of stopping, and the next film on the horizon is Cruella – an origin story for the fearsome villain from 101 Dalmatians.


There’s less than a month to go before the film hits our screens, and after already having released full-length trailers, Disney has now given fans another sneak peek at the film, complete with the news of a brand new song from Florence + The Machine, which will be a major part of the film’s soundtrack.

Speaking about the track, which is titled  Call me Cruella, Florence Welch said: “Some of the first songs I ever learned how to sing were Disney songs. And the villains often got the best numbers. So to help create and perform a song for Cruella is the fulfilment of a long-held childhood dream. I’m so grateful to Nicholas Brittell and Disney for allowing me so much creative freedom, and for trusting me with Cruella’s beautiful madness.”

This won’t be the first time the Cruella de Vil has appeared in a major live-action film of course – Glenn Close famously portrayed her back in 1996’s 101 Dalmations, but the iteration of the character played by Emma Stone in this film will be younger, before her more well-known days tormenting Dalmatians.

While cinemas will be open once again by the time the film debuts, you’ll be able to watch this one from the comfort of your own home – read on for everything you need to know about the release date, cast, and whether those adorable 101 Dalmatians will feature.

Cruella release date

Disney originally announced that it would be released in US cinemas on 23rd December 2020 followed by a UK release just over a week later on 1st January 2021. The studio then pushed back the release date.

Disney confirmed the release date at D23 – Cruella is released on 28th May 2021.

Cruella Disney prequel poster

In March 2021 it was also confirmed that Cruella would be simultaneously released in cinemas and on Disney Plus via Premier Access, a strategy the studio is also using for Marvel blockbuster Black Widow.

Disney Plus Premier Access requires a one-off £19.99 fee on top of your subscription, but much like Mulan will likely become available to subscribers for free at a later date.


Cruella trailer

Yes – the trailer premiered on 17th February, 2021, and features Emma Stone using her best English accent. Check it out below:

A second trailer arrived on 7th April 2021, featuring a more in-depth look at the film- with a particular focus on Emma Thompson’s delightfully wicked boss:

And another first-look clip was released by Disney on 10th May 2021 – this time complete with a preview of Florence + The Machine’s original track Call Me Cruella, which will be included in the film’s soundtrack.

Cruella cast

It’s been confirmed that La La Land star – and Oscar winner – Emma Stone will play the young Cruella.

Here’s the first photo of Emma Stone channelling Helena Bonham Carter as Cruella…

Emma Thompson also stars, and plays Cruella’s boss – and essentially becomes the reason for her villain journey. The actress is no stranger to Disney live-action remakes, having already portrayed Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast.

Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry have also been confirmed. Emily Beacham, Joel Fry, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong are also confirmed.

Emma Thompson and Emma Stone
Emma Thompson and Emma Stone

Cruella plot

Disney has officially announced that the new project will be “a live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.” The origin story will be set in the early 1980s and have a “punk vibe”, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

We now have a synopsis too describing it as “an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil.”

“Cruella, which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by Emma Thompson. But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.”

If the movie follows the format of Maleficent, we’d expect a deepening of the character of Cruella. Expect to hear the harrowing tale of how she got that ice in her stare, and to find out why she’s so hell-bent on killing all those adorable puppies. Is it really all about that fur coat?

Now we know Emma v Emma is on the cards, it all sounds very Devil Wears Prada.

How will Cruella differ from 101 Dalmatians?

Cruella will tell the villain’s side of the story, as Wicked did for The Wizard of Oz, and Maleficent did for Sleeping Beauty. Although the film will be set before Cruella meets the puppies, it’s possible that we’ll see flashes of her at the time of 101 Dalmatians. We might also find out more about how she originally became friends with Anita Radcliffe, whose dogs Pongo and Perdita are the parents of fifteen of the puppies.

Anita Radcliffe and Cruella De Vil

Cruella soundtrack

It’s too early to say, but whilst Cruella de Vil is a favourite Disney song, its black-and-white presentation of Cruella as an ‘inhuman beast’ probably make it unsuitable for the new film, which is expected to bring more nuance to the character.

That said, it would be a waste not to include some songs in the new film as Emma Stone has award-winning musical talent. She performed in Cabaret on Broadway, sang an awesome musical number in Easy A and, of course, starred as the leading lady in La La Land.

Who is directing Cruella?

It was announced in December 2018 that Craig Gillespie – director of I, Tonya – had replaced Alex Timbers (Mozart in the Jungle) as director of the film due to conflict with Timbers’ Broadway schedule.

Kristin Burr will produce the film, alongside Marc Platt and Andrew Gunn.

Who wrote the script for Cruella?

Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), wrote early drafts of the script, before Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey) took over as screenwriter. She’s since made way for Jez Butterworth (Ford v Ferrari), Dana Fox (How to Be Single) and Steve Zissis (Togetherness), with Tony McNamara (The Favourite) the latest to work on the screenplay.

How many 101 Dalmatian movies are there?

Originally created by author Dodie Smith, Cruella de Vil first appeared on screen in 1961’s animated Disney classic 101 Dalmatians, and appeared in its follow-up 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure, released in 2003.

The character made her live-action debut, played by Glenn Close, in 1996 remake 101 Dalmatians (co-starring Ioan Gruffudd and Joely Richardson), followed by its sequel, 102 Dalmatians.


Cruella is released in cinemas on 28th May 2021. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide. Visit our Movies hub for all the latest news.