EXCLUSIVE: I, Tonya‘s Craig Gillespie is in talks at Disney to direct the live-action Cruella, with Emma Stone playing the woman who covets the furs of the 101 Dalmation pups needed to give her the perfect coat, sources said.

Emma Stone Craig Gillespie
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Alex Timbers, the acclaimed Broadway director-writer and co-creator of Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, was going to direct the film, but the latest development is all about timing, I’m told. Basically, Disney has decided it needs the movie to start production sooner than it expected to. Which means, start pre-production immediately and begin shooting next year.

Timber is bringing Beetlejuice to Broadway and then he moves on to working with Baz Luhrmann on the stage version of Moulin Rouge, an all-consuming task that will keep him busy until it opens next July. That scratches him from the live-action film based on the Disney animated children’s classic 101 Dalmatians.

That opens a slot for Gillespie, who has been working on a remake of the Norwegian thriller Thelma, but has an opening. And he is coming off the sleeper hit I, Tonya, guiding Margot Robbie to an Oscar nomination for her role as the disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, and Allison Janney to a win in the Best Supporting Actress category for playing Harding’s cold mother.

The studio has a script by Jez Butterworth, and Marc Platt, Andrew Gunn and Kristin Burr are the producers.

Gillespie, who directed Lars and the Real Girl, Million Dollar Arm and The Finest Hours, is repped by UTA and Management 360.