'Cruella' Casts 'Killing Eve' Star Kirby Howell-Baptiste

From Killing Eve to Why Women Kill and even her recurring role on The Good PlaceKirby Howell-Baptiste seems to have a lot of death on her resume. But hopefully she won't be killing anything in her new role in Cruella, Disney's live-action prequel to 101 Dalmatians starring Emma Stone as the fur-obsessed villain. Howell-Baptiste has signed on to join the Cruella cast in an undisclosed role.

Variety broke the news that Kirby Howell-Baptiste has signed on to star in Disney's live-action Cruella, an origin story for the 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil, played by a punk-rock Emma Stone. Details on Howell-Baptiste's character have not been revealed.

Howell-Baptiste is best known for her roles in Killing Eve and most recently Why Women Kill, though many may recognize the British actress for her recurring roles in HBO's Barry, NBC's The Good Place (yes, she is Chidi's ex), and Hulu's recent revival of Veronica Mars. She's been steadily gaining recognition in the U.S. through these roles, though Cruella will be her biggest break yet. Howell-Baptiste has proven herself a capable dramatic and comedic actor, the latter of which I get the feeling she'll be leaning into here. It's too early to say whether she will be playing an ally or antagonist to Cruella, but taking into consideration her fabulous hair and generally stylish characters, I wouldn't put it past her to play a fashion school rival to Stone's aspiring fashionista.

Howell-Baptiste will be joining a cast that includes Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya), as one of Cruella's burglar henchmen Horace; Joel Fry (Yesterday) as his fellow bumbling burglar Jasper; and Emma Thompson. The film will reportedly act as a prequel to 101 Dalmatians, following "a young Cruella before she schemed to skin the black-and-white spotted puppies for her fur coat." But the film's setting in the 1970s points to Cruella being a prequel not to the original animated film, which took place in the then-contemporary time of 1961, but to the 1996 101 Dalmatians live-action remake starring Glenn Close, which shifted the timeline to modern day in the mid-1990s.

Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) is directing Cruella based on a script by Tony McNamara, who penned the most recent version of the script after Dana Fox wrote a previous draft. Marc Platt, Kristin Burr, and Andrew Gunn are producing the film, which is currently in production.Cruella will strut into theaters on May 28, 2021.