Darleen "Darla" Dimple (also publicly known as Darla Dimple) is a child actress, and the secondary antagonist of Warner Bros./Turner Entertainment 1997 animated film Cats Don't Dance. She also has a butler named Max, serving as her boss.
She was voiced by Ashley Peldon. However, her singing voice was provided by Lindsay Ridgeway.
Darla Dimple makes an effort to appear loquacious, enthusiastic, talkative, sweet, and kind when in public, and has a reputation for being "America's Sweetheart, lover of children and animals!". In reality, she is a spoiled, vengeful, heartless, unpleasant, manipulative, calculating and psychopathic diva who has no qualms about ruining the lives and careers of anyone she feels is inferior. Darla is also a traitorous menace to her staff and subordinates, although they try to appease her due to her talent and her imposing henchman, Max. She has a terrible, unpleasant, and obstreperous temper and hatred of animals, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Role in the film
A young orange tomcat by the name of Danny (the protagonist of the film) accidentally offends Darla by attempting to sing onstage during a production Darla is starring in. She becomes jealous and angry and throws a nasty temper tantrum in front of the entire film crew without any regret. She then calls in Max, who grabs Danny and intimidates him as a warning for what will happen the next time he crosses Darla's path. Later, Darla has seemingly forgotten her anger and even offers Danny advice on how to succeed in show business; this is meant to get him to drop his guard, as, after this, Danny is convinced that Darla wants to help all animals.
However, Darla's plan has unforeseen consequences, as her advice only results in him inspiring other animals to try to perform. Darla becomes worried that the animals will be successful and hatches a plot: she has Max flood Mammoth Studios while the head of Mammoth Studios, L.B. Mammoth, and the film's director Flanagan are giving an interview, then frames the animals for the incident in the hopes of getting them all fired.
The animals get barred from acting at Mammoth Studios again but end up putting on an impressive production anyway. During this show, Darla goes backstage in an attempt at sabotage, but her meddling only enhances the show and makes it more impressive while injuring herself in various ways; this ends with her pulling a large switch, which causes a fabulous fireworks display to end the show. Now covered in wires, props, and bruises, she yells at Danny that she should have drowned him and the rest of the animals when she flooded the stage, unaware that a microphone has become attached to her head in the commotion and her confession has been broadcasted to the entire audience, as well as Flanagan and L.B. Mammoth. Darla tries to save face by hugging Danny as she did earlier in the film, but Danny's friend named Pudge pulls a trapdoor lever, and Darla falls through the stage. She is later shown after the credits, having lost her job and serving as a janitor, and is seen putting up posters for films with animals in the starring roles.
- When Darla is in her sweet and loving persona, her hair bow is normal; however, whenever she loses her temper or begins scheming her bow becomes pointed and gives her the appearance of devilish horns.
- Darla gets a lot of panty shots, which some parents might criticize as sexualization.
- Some people think she is the main antagonist of the movie, because she is the one who sabotages the animals. In real life, she is the secondary antagonist of the the movie and the second in-command to the true main antagonist.
- Darla bears a physical resemblance to (but does not have the same personality as), Shirley Temple, during her days as a child actress in the 1930s.
- Darla is stated to be a parody of the young Shirley Temple.