In the Disney universe, it pays to be bewitching. Especially if you're bad. Example: According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is planning a new live-action movie centered on its "101 Dalmatians" villainess, Cruella de Vil.
The sequel, presently titled "Cruella," would be Disney's latest ode to its stable of storybook villains after Angelina Jolie's "Maleficent," the alternate take on "Sleeping Beauty" due out in the summer of 2014. And it would be Hollywood's latest ode, as well, after Snow White's evil-queen nemesis demanded Julia Roberts' and Charlize Theron's A-list names and talents in the 2012 films, "Mirror Mirror" and "Snow White and the Huntsman," respectively.
Has our age of the antihero doomed the fairy-tale do-gooder?
No, not exactly. Even as "Cruella" enters the script-writing stage, director Kenneth Branagh ("Thor") has begun filming for Disney on a new live-action "Cinderella," set for 2015.
But what's undeniable is that certain villains are just undeniable.
"If you're talking about a beautiful woman who's also a villain that's almost a perfect combination because everybody wants to be beautiful and everybody wants to be a little bit bad," says Paul Levinson, a media studies professor at Fordham University.
And so the movie about the beautiful, but bad Maleficent. And so the movies, plural, about the beautiful, but bad Snow White queen. And so the franchise about the stylish, but worse Cruella de Vil, who was brought to life by Glenn Close in 1996's "101 Dalmatians" and 2000's "102 Dalmatians" (and, per movie critics, by Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada").
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Close will serve as an executive producer on the new "Cruella" movie; there's no word, however, on who would play the dastardly dog hater.
But rest assured, the part will be a desirable one.
"In general, villains are always more interesting than people who just do good things," Levinson says. "The beautiful intelligent villain is very interesting."
And, right now, in demand.
See Angelina Jolie Talk About Playing 'Maleficent':
- Arts & Entertainment
- Cruella de Vil
- Hollywood Reporter