Emma Stone is going to get her own villainous showcase as Cruella De Vil in the upcoming Disney film, Cruella (watch the trailer here). Plenty of online scuttlebutt has been calling this new take on the villainess Disney’s attempt at Joker, the Warner Bros./DC Comics film that gave the villain the spotlight and displayed a particularly darker tone than what audiences usually expect. However, it turns out that Cruella actually might have more in common with another DC supervillain: Catwoman. In fact, a very specific iteration of Selina Kyle: the one played by Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton’s 1992 sequel (and the best live-action Batman movie), Batman Returns.
Check out this comparison between a shot of Emma Stone’s Cruella De Vil and a promo photograph of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman for Batman Returns:
More than a little similarity between the two leading ladies, wouldn’t you say? Emma Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer are both exuding some wicked, dark, and sultry energy in the roles. That dark eye makeup and red lipstick don’t hurt for making comparisons either. But, it is not only in their villainous forms that these two characters and performances seem to be existing in a similar space. In both Batman Returns and the upcoming Cruella, Selina Kyle and Cruella De Vil don’t start out as vicious vixens of the night. Instead, they both undergo a transformation that awakens their inner selves. But before that, they are both stereotypical dorks. Check out yet another comparison:
However, once they embrace their villainous nature and liberate themselves, Emma Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer turn into gleeful little demons. You can tell that both actresses truly relished the opportunity to be joyously bad in their respective roles. Even their devilish smiles seem to emanate from some similar plane of ghoulish delight. Check out this moment from the trailer where Cruella is madly laughing as she dances through a fashion show wearing a dalmatian skin outfit:
And compare Emma Stone’s energy with the same kind of vibe Michelle Pfeiffer is bringing to this moment in Batman Returns where Catwoman decides to whip the heads off a bunch of mall mannequins:
Even the neon pink letters in Cruella’s graffiti in that above gif have the Emma Stone movie echoing similar neon pink lettering that became one of the iconic images from Batman Returns: the “Hello There” sign in Selina Kyle’s apartment that eventually was broken to say “Hell Here”:
It would be great to ask Emma Stone if she knowingly drew upon Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman as an inspiration for her take on Cruella De Vil. The two supervillains seem to have a lot in common both aesthetically and in their performance. If that is any possible indication of what we can expect from Emma Stone’s iteration of Cruella De Vil, we could be in for a top-tier villain performance. Pfeiffer left an indelible stamp on the role and it’s worth arguing that she has yet to be surpassed. Perhaps the same will end up being true of Emma Stone’s Cruella De Vil. We will find out once Cruella opens on May 28.