Emma Stone has a good sense of humor after learning her Cruella has been compared to The Joker.
The Oscar-winning actress has addressed how her live-action version of the iconic Disney villainess is drawing comparisons to a certain DC Comics villain but insists it’s very different.
Much as with Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent, Cruella gives a spin on the origin of a famed animated villainess, in this case, Cruella de Vil.
The antagonist of the 1961 animated classic 101 Dalmatians, Cruella was a frantic woman obsessed with capturing the title dogs and making them into her own personal line of fur coats. The character quickly became one of the most popular Disney villains ever with her wild style and the famous theme song.
Glenn Close played Cruella in 1996’s live-action 101 Dalmatians film, which was such a hit, it had a sequel, 102 Dalmatians. Victoria Smurfit also played the role for an arc on ABC’s Once Upon A Time series.
The new movie has Stone as a young Cruella, then known as Estella, the daughter of a poor washwoman who has dreams of becoming a fashion designer in 1970s London. She lands a job for legendary designer Baroness van Hellman (Emma Thompson).
However, the tense relationship between the two inspires Estella to adopt a new persona, leading her to become the twisted Cruella.
The Joker comparisons
As soon as the first trailers hit showing Stone in the wildly garish Cruella makeup, wig, and outfits, reactions quickly compared it to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.
But as more on her troubled origin was shown, a new comparison was made to 2019’s Joker movie, where Joaquin Phoenix showed the twisted journey of a sad sack comic transforming into the Clown Prince of Crime.
Like that movie, Cruella attempts to put a sympathetic backstory on a figure long presented as a pure ruthless villain and explain “evil is made, not born.”
Speaking to Total Film magazine, Stone (who recently gave birth to her first child), noted the comparisons but, like both Cruella and the Joker would, laughed it off.
“It’s hard to call someone a bad’ un completely when you see them from the very beginning. It’s very different from Joker in many ways. I would never even remotely compare myself to Joaquin Phoenix. I wish I was more like him.”
Director Craig Gillespie added how he feels the comparisons of the characters are only skin-deep.
There are some really deep, emotional things that [Emma Stone’s] Cruella is dealing with that send her to the villainous darker side. It’s definitely its own thing. Just to sort of reframe Cruella, I thought it was important to show this darker side of her. But there’s going to be a lot of fun, a lot of humor in it. There’s a lot of absolutely delightful banter and rhythm to the style of it, which is different from Joker.
The producers insist the better comparison is to how Maleficent made that equally famed Disney villainess more sympathetic, although still the touches of darkness to her.
The results will be seen in May to show how much Cruella and the Clown Prince of Crime are truly alike.
Cruella debuts in theaters and Disney+ on May 28.