The first photo of Emma Stone as Cruella de Vil in the upcoming live-action film led people to compare the Oscar-winning actor’s appearance to post-punk icon Siouxsie Sioux when the image was shown to fans at the D23 Expo in Anaheim Saturday.
Fans were also treated to footage from the upcoming live-action “Mulan” film, teasing its colorful costumes, impeccable choreography, and epic scale. Star Liu Yifei was notably absent after her comments about the Hong Kong protests were met with backlash and calls to boycott the film.
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Stone will portray the classic Disney villain in the origin story “Cruella,” set to be released May 28, 2021. She promised the D23 crowd that the 1970s London-set film has a punk rock vibe — backed up by the single photo revealed at the expo shows. Yes, the haute couture of Glenn Close’s “101 Dalmatians” Cruella is still there, but Stone’s version adds a perm to the character’s signature black-and-white ‘do, big shoulders, and heavy eye makeup.
No word yet on whether Stone will get behind the wheel of the Panther De Ville of the earlier films.
A new clip from “Mulan” shows Mulan (Yifei Liu, “The Forbidden Kingdom”) meeting the Matchmaker (Pei-Pei Cheng, “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”).
Liu, however, was not at Saturday’s presentation.
Last week, the Chinese-born star, who is an American citizen, voiced support for Hong Kong police on Weibo, the country’s largest social media platform.
Since Liu’s post, social media platforms have been flooded with calls to #BoycottMulan, mainly from human rights advocates angered by reports of police brutality against the anti-government protesters. In response, nationalists are rallying behind the film online, using imagery from the 1998 animated classic for pro-government memes under the hashtag #SupportMulan.
Director Niki Caro said her film, which features a predominately Chinese cast and is based on the ancient-legend inspired Disney animated classic, will hit audiences in a visceral way when its released March 27, 2020.
“What drew me to this project is Mulan herself, her journey from village girl to soldier to hero in a story as relevant and inspiring as it was 1,500 years ago,” she said. “I’m most excited for the audience to feel this story on a truly epic scale.”
The New Zealander is best known for her 2002 debut film, “Whale Rider,” which features Keisha Castle-Hughes as a 12-year-old indigenous girl whose ambition is to become chief of her Māori tribe. She earned a best actress Oscar nod for her role, making her one of the youngest nominees ever.
Bill Desowitz contributed reporting.