Cruella director reveals what it’s like to work with Emma Stone and Emma Thompson
“She had a very complicated performance to do because it’s an evolution for her to become Cruella,” director Craig Gillespie said of Emma Stone. “The first time we meet her as Cruella, she’s playing a character at the black and white ball. She’s not quite there yet, and then she goes through this emotional epiphany that informs her,” Gillespie said. “She then kind of transforms into this other version of Cruella and ends up being this kind of hybrid version of the character. So she’s constantly modulating her performances and the kind of Cruella she wants to be.”
Thompson’s role, on the other hand, required more straightforward villainy, but his character required a specific balance, Gillespie said. “They’re absolutely amazing working with them. I think they’re the most generous actors in the sense that they know that’s a delicate tone we’re looking for,” Gillespie revealed to Looper. “So they would modulate their performance to determine where that balance was, and that’s something we explored more in the beginning.”
Since Gillespie began cutting his films during the main shoot, Thompson and Stone have been able to collaborate with the director during the shoot to refine their portrayals. “Because I cut as I go and show them what we’re working on, the characters define themselves very quickly,” Gillespie said. “What we found out was for the Baroness, less was more. So it was very tiny gestures, just an eyebrow or just the cock of a head that had so much power for her against. Cruella – who’s just kind of like that bag of energy and regrouping, and still like nonstop and very gregarious. So having that juxtaposition worked incredibly well with both of them. “
Also starring Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, John McCrea and Mark Strong, “Cruella” is screened in theaters nationwide and aired on Disney + with Premier Access.