Ever since Disney dropped the first trailer for Cruella, fans could not help but remark upon the similarities between the movie, and Todd Phillips’ Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix. In an interview with Total Film magazine, Emma Stone, who will be essaying the lead role of Cruella de Vil in the upcoming movie, affirmed that despite the similarities in style and tone, Cruella is doing its own thing, distinct from Joker, while praising Phoenix, who she starred opposite in 2015’s Irrational Man.
“[Cruella is] very different from Joker in many ways… I would never even remotely compare myself to Joaquin Phoenix. I wish I was more like him.”
The reasons for the comparisons between the two films are understandable. Both Cruella and Joker are origin stories for iconic villains, with the former being the spoiled heiress from 101 Dalmatians who was intent on skinning the dalmatians to make a fur coat, and the latter being Batman’s most well-known nemesis. According to Craig Gillespie, who directed Cruella, while the themes of his film are similar to Joker, the story’s treatment is going to be quite different.
“There are some really deep, emotional things that Cruella’s dealing with that send her to the villainous darker side. So in that sense, it is [similar to Joker]. But 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.”
Of course, comparisons to Joker are not a bad thing, since the movie became the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, not to mention snagged Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar for Best Actor. However, in the process, the movie also forever changed the public’s perception of the Clown Prince of Crime. In the past, the character had always been depicted as remorselessly, gleefully evil. But Joker showed him as a misunderstood loner instead, who is driven to do bad things by an uncaring society, making him more of an anti-hero than a villain.
From the looks of the trailer for Cruella, something similar is being done for Stone’s character as well. As far as villains go, you can’t sink much lower than wanting to skin puppies to make coats out of their fur. But it seems the upcoming movie will portray Cruella in a much more sympathetic light, with the implication being that she was driven to do bad things after being unfairly rejected by the world of high fashion as a young designer that she so desperately wanted to become a part of.
Directed by Craig Gillespie, Cruella stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mark Strong, and Emily Beecham. The film arrives in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on May 28. This news first dropped at GamesRadar.com.