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‘Cruella’ Prequel Novel ‘Hello Cruel Heart’ Coming in 2021

We are just a few months away from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians prequel movie Cruella, which centers on the villain’s young adult life before becoming the iconic Disney villain we know her as today. Now, Disney publishing is releasing a novel just in time for the new film that will explore the origin even further.

The new novel from Disney Publishing and author Maureen Johnson, Hello Cruel Heart is set to debut April 6, 2021.

While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Johnson discussed what Hello, Cruel Heart will be about:

Before there was Cruella, there was Estella. In Hello, Cruel Heart, we meet a sixteen-year-old Estrella in London, living in a bombed-out place called the Lair with Jasper and Horace, stealing to make ends meet, and trying to establish herself as a fashion designer. In the summer of 1967, London was the coolest place in the entire world. It was called Swinging London, and everything was happening at once—especially music and fashion. Estella meets a pair of rich siblings, Magda and Richard, who sweep Estella into London’s most fashionable set. Through them, she meets Peter, the guitarist and songwriter for the Electric Teacup, an up and coming band. Estella will go through a whirlwind romance and an intense social experience that turns her toward her eventual emergence as Cruella.

Read: Exclusive: ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ Star John McCrea Joins Disney’s ‘Cruella’

Emma Stone (La La Land) plays the villainious, Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) as the Baroness,  Paul Walter Hauser, and Joel Fry as Cruella’s classic henchmen Jasper and Horace, Emily Beecham (Into The Badlands) likely playing Anita, Mark Strong (Shazam!) as the Baron, and Killing Eve star Kirby Howell-Baptiste in a currently unknown role.

Further, Dev Patel has been approached for the role of Raj aka Roger, the owner of Pongo, but that has yet to be confirmed at this moment. Glenn Close is on board as a producer on the project. The film will explore the villainess in 1970’s London. Cruella originated in Dodie Smith’s beloved 1956 book, “The Hundred and One Dalmatians.” The role was voiced by Betty Lou Gerson in Walt Disney’s 1961 animated adaptation and played by Close in the 1996 live-action remake, as well as in that film’s 2000 sequel, 102 Dalmatians.

Production on the project wrapped before the Hollywood shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Directed by Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya), Cruella will hit theaters on May 28, 2021.

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