In one of the most entertaining press conferences I have attended in quite some time, Grae Drake moderated a discussion with the cast of Disney’s Creulla which included director Craig Gillespie, production designer Fiona Crombie, makeup and hair designer Nadia Stacey and costume designer extraordaire Jenny Beavan. Cruella de Vil is easily one of the most villainous villains of all time. So, how does one begin an origin story around a character so devilishly fabulous? Director Craig Gillespie shares, “I wanted there to be this gray area and be able to empathize with the choices that she (Cruella) was making and the situations that she was responding to in a way that was really fun.”
And what about the real star of Cruella…those grand, stylish yet spot on 70’s grunge looks? Jenny Beavan says it’s totally inspired from how she grew up in London. But, there’s clearly a change in Estella when she takes it up a notch embracing her Cruella style. “…we found that arc from a child where she’s obviously anarchic and rebellious and does things to her school uniform much like I remember. My wonderful associate designer, Sarah Young’s sister, was quite an inspiration for that ’cause she used to turn her blazer inside out.” “I’m not a fashion designer, I’m a storyteller with clothes. In fact, in my real life, I have no interest in clothes. I just love telling stories with them. So for me, there with these beautifully written characters that you could just get your teeth into.
The production design for this film was off the charts insane. How did production designer Fiona Crombie handle the challenge? “I think the biggest challenge was actually the number of sets. The film has great pace, we move around a lot, and there’s lots of little important moments that require different sets. There were 120-odd sets across the course of the shoot. Some of them are enormous, some are tiny little rooms. But, one of the things I’m most pleased about is the level of detail in every single one of those sets.”
What about that crazy amazing hair and makeup? “I think the biggest thing for me is that hair and makeup in this is kinda used as a tool of deception. She’s got to disguise herself from the Baroness. So, when we first see Estella, she needs to be believable as a girl that’s growing up in London, who’s then creating this persona in Cruella,” says Nadia Stacey. “…when she starts arriving to these red carpet moments, there’s a mask-like quality in all the makeups as well, ’cause she has to disguise herself, so, I needed the difference to be huge between the two looks. I kept Estella quite simple so we had somewhere big to go for Cruella. I’m never gonna have that many looks to do again ( LAUGH).
And that epic soundtrack? “So, when we first meet the Baroness, I threw (The Doors track) on the day we were shooting and it never changed. There’s a great Nancy Sinatra song, which was kinda spontaneous when she’s in the elevator, and I thought, I feel like you’d be singing here…maybe. a song. I’m like, how about Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots Made for Walking” and she came out dancing to that. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes convo with the Emma’s – Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. In the meantime, check out the featurette below as Cruella prepares to hit theatres and stream simultaneously on Disney Plus THIS Friday, May 28th.