Emma Stone Talks ‘Cruella’ Transformation, New ‘Zombieland’ Sequel

Despite inevitable comparisons to Glenn Close’s iconic turn as Cruella de Vil in 1996’s “101 Dalmatians,” Emma Stone teased that her take on the infamous villain in the upcoming “Cruella” movie will be very distinctive.

“It comes long before her story,” Stone told Variety at the premiere of “Zombieland: Double Tap” at the Regency Village Theater in Westwood, Calif., on Thursday night. “It’s a different ball game.”

Many fans were stunned upon being given a first look at Stone’s punk-rock inspired interpretation of the character when Disney released an image from the upcoming prequel during this past summer’s D23 Expo.

“Well, I saw myself in the mirror getting ready, so I wasn’t that shocked,” Stone said of the first look. “It’s been really fun. We are in the middle of it right now so it’s still sort of hard to even talk about it. It’s been really, really cool.”

The long-awaited sequel “Zombieland: Double Tap” sees Stone reunited with her fellow zombie apocalypse survivors Abigail Breslin, Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson after ten years. The intervening decade had brought about many changes and achievements for the cast, including a best actress Oscar for Stone, but she remarked that it felt almost like no time had passed.

Popular on Variety

“It’s so much fun to be with all of these people again,” Stone said. “It’s such a joy and such a blast. It just felt like old times again, but everybody’s had all these great life experiences and there was so much more to share. It was really special.”

Thomas Middleditch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin and Zoey DeutchColumbia Pictures 'Zombieland: Double Tap' World Premiere at the Regency Village Theatre, Westwood, CA, USA - 10 October 2019
CREDIT: Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

Breslin, who was 13 years old when she starred in the first movie, told Variety that some cast members had trouble recognizing her post-puberty.

“Woody thought I was, like, a stalker when he first saw me,” Breslin said. “He didn’t know who I was. I was like, ‘Hi, Woody’ and he was like, ‘Uh, hi?’ I was like, ‘It’s Abby.’ He was like, ‘Oh, right!’ And same with Jesse a little bit. Emma remembered me though. They were all pretty shocked.”

Eisenberg told Variety that he hadn’t truly realized the lasting impact that the original “Zombieland” movie had on fans and on the zombie genre as a whole until the cast began their publicity tour for the sequel.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Eisenberg said. “It felt like this kind of very private thing when we were filming the movie and then I kind of realized it has this pop culture resonance and that people feel like it’s theirs as well as ours.”

The sequel also saw the introduction of new actors and characters to the original surviving foursome, including Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch. Dawson made her first premiere appearance with boyfriend and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker. The couple seemed relaxed as they cozied up for the cameras and Dawson laughed at the attention paid to Booker. “Hey, it’s my premiere!” Dawson exclaimed as Booker obliged a nearby crowd of autograph seekers.

A fan of the original movie, Deutch told Variety that she had trouble believing that the atmosphere on set was as enjoyable as it had appeared on-screen.

“I was happy to find out that my first instinct was correct,” Deutch told Variety. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had on set. It was such a life-affirming experience because these are my heroes, some of my favorite actors in the world and they were kind and so generous and so welcoming.”

Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who returned to pen the sequel, said they were thrilled that the original “Zombieland” was at the forefront of the zombie genre’s resurgence over the past decade.

“When I ran into Robert Kirkman from ‘Walking Dead,’ he said that the reason ‘Walking Dead’ made it on air was because of ‘Zombieland,’” Wernick told Variety. “It was their opportunity. People felt like, wow, zombies can actually be commercial and make money, so AMC rolled the dice. It was awesome to hear that.”

Though the sequel was ten years in the making, director Ruben Fleischer told Variety he isn’t ruling out a third installment.

“That would be beyond a dream come true,” Fleischer said. “I hope that in due time we will be able to make another one but only if the circumstances are right.”

More Film

  • Aviron Pictures Hit With Layoffs

    Aviron Pictures Hit With Layoffs, Joel Kinnaman Action Movie 'The Informer' in Limbo

    Fledgling distributor Aviron Pictures has been hit with a significant staff reduction less than a month after the removal of top executive WIlliam Sadleir, numerous insiders told Variety.  Almost half of a staff of 30 were dismissed last week, amid wide rumors that the company’s deep-pocketed financier Black Rock has defunded the outfit entirely, sources [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Bill Clinton

    Harvey Weinstein's Lawyer Seeks Mistrial When D.A. Refers to Bill Clinton Friendship

    Harvey Weinstein was associated with the Clintons for years, socially and as a generous donor to both of their political campaigns. And according to prosecutors in Weinstein’s criminal trial, he bragged about his friendship with the former president to women he allegedly sexually assaulted, in an effort to intimidate them. During opening statements on Wednesday, [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum to Star in 'Bob the Musical' Comedy for Disney

    Channing Tatum is attached to star in and produce “Bob the Musical” for Disney — a project that’s been in development for more than a decade. Tatum will produce through his company, Free Association, and partners Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan. Tripp Vinson and Chris Bender are also attached to produce. No director is currently [...]

  • John Henry

    'John Henry': Film Review

    Terry Crews’ John Henry is a man of few words. “John Henry,” the folklore-cribbing, violent thriller (opening theatrically and available on demand) about a former gang member who must face his demons when two young immigrants require his help, feels like it wants to say a lot. But what exactly? Utilizing horror-movie gestures and ladling [...]

  • Matt Damon SNL

    Matt Damon to Star in NYPD Thriller 'The Force'

    Matt Damon has come on board to star in “The Force” with James Mangold directing for Disney’s 20th Century Studios. Mangold, who directed Damon in “Ford v. Ferrari,” has been developing the Don Winslow bestseller since 2017. “The Force” centers on corrupt NYPD officers with Damon attached to play detective Denny Malone, who runs an [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein female juror

    Novelist Who Wrote About Predatory Men Stays on Harvey Weinstein Jury

    A novelist who has an upcoming book about predatory older men in New York will remain on the Harvey Weinstein jury, despite vociferous objections from the defense. Juror #11 showed up to opening statements on Wednesday, and sat through the full day of trial. Weinstein’s defense had argued last Friday that she should be removed [...]

  • Ride Like A Girl

    Australia Box Office Drops 2% in 2019

    Cinema box office in Australia dipped by 2% in 2019 to an annual total of A$1.23 billion, or $841 million, according to data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia. That was the country’s third highest figure in local currency terms, but it also shows the theatrical industry to be rangebound since 2015. Australian-made [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content