From Terra Nova, to Saving Mr. Banks, to Fifty Shades of Grey, screenwriter Kelly Marcel has been adding to her writing resume over the last few years, but her next project might just prove to be the biggest yet. Disney has set Marcel to script their live-action adaptation of Cruella, centering on the infamous villainess Cruella de Vil from the animated 101 Dalmatians movie. Aline Brosh McKenna previously worked on an earlier version of the script, but with Disney looking to fast-track the project, Marcel will now take a crack at it.
THR’s report of Disney attaching Marcel to the Cruella script comes just after the studio set quite a few new release dates. Their Untitled Disney Fairy Tale films, of which there are four, will be popping up between late 2017 and late 2019. Leading up to that list of currently untitled films, Disney will also be releasing other live-action fairy tale films including Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (April 15, 2016), Tim Burton’s sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass (May 27, 2016) and Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast (March 17, 2017).
Cruella is an interesting project with respect to the other fairy tales Disney has decided to adapt. Glenn Close already portrayed the character in the live-action 1996 film 101 Dalmatians and its 2000 sequel; while those films performed marginally well at the box office, they weren’t critically well-received. Even if we’re just looking at box office numbers, Disney’s recent forays into live-action fairy tale territory include 2010’s Alice in Wonderland with north of $1 billion, 2014’s Maleficent with more than $750 million, and this year’s Cinderella making more than $500 million. Live-action adaptations of classics basically print money at this point, so it’s no surprise that more are in store.
There’s Dumbo, with Burton attached to direct; Reese Witherspoon is attached to star in and produce Tink, based on Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell; a Maleficent sequel in process with Angelina Jolie and writer Linda Woolverton; a live-action adaptation of Mulan; and a Sword in the Stone adaptation, just to name a few. Some of these films, including Cruella, may soon find themselves being set for one of Disney’s recently announced release dates. Other projects in the Disney pipeline include A Wrinkle in Time, which Frozen co-director and co-writer Jennifer Lee is adapting, and Pete’s Dragon.