Disney’s Live-Action Cruella de Vil Movie Hires ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Writer Kelly Marcel
After some highly-publicized and unfortunate drama surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey, screenwriter Kelly Marcel opted out of returning to pen the sequel — that’s bad news for Fifty Shades fans, as Marcel’s script vastly improved upon the source material, but good news for Marcel fans, as the writer is now freed up to pursue non-Fifty Shades projects (it’s for the best), like Disney’s live-action Cruella de Vil movie.
THR reports that Marcel has been tapped to write the screenplay for Cruella along with Steve Zissis, writer and star of HBO’s Togetherness. Marcel previously wrote Saving Mr. Banks for the studio. Disney has reportedly fast-tracked the project, which means Cruella could be taking one of the dates the studio recently announced for four mysterious live-action projects. Those dates include December 22, 2017, November 2, 2018, March 29, 2019, and November 8, 2019.
Disney’s Cruella has been in the works since 2013, before the studio went all-in on live-action retellings of its classic properties. Similar to Maleficent, Cruella would tell the story of the 101 Dalmatians villain from her perspective — which might be a bit tricky, considering she’s a chronic smoker who wants to skin puppies for fur coats.
The villain made her debut in Dodie Smith’s 101 Dalmatians novel, originally published in 1956. In 1961, she made her big screen debut in Disney’s animated adaptation of the story, before making the transition to live-action in the 1996 film, in which she was portrayed by Glenn Close.
Disney has several other live-action projects in the works: in addition to Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast, Pete’s Dragon, and Alice Through the Looking Glass, there’s Tim Burton’s Dumbo, a Maleficent sequel, Winnie the Pooh, movies about Tinker Bell, Prince Charming and the Genie from Aladdin, The Sword in the Stone, and Mulan.