Disney’s remake of Cruella is not only a wickedly funny and refreshingly dark origin story, but a showcase for its brilliant stars including Brit actor, Emma Thompson as the uber-chic, diabolical Baroness. We caught up with the Academy Award-winning star to explore the makings of an instant classic.
INDULGE: What was it like working with director, Craig Gillespie?
EMMA: He is an extraordinary director. This is quite a big budget movie but Craig is directing it like it’s an independent movie. So you have so much collaborative time and have so much fun — “oh, why don’t we try this?” — and there are no constraints. He loves working fast and loose and being a bit risky with the material, and I love that!
INDULGE: This Cruella is as dark as it is funny due to the very complex relationship between you, the Baroness and “Estella” AKA Cruella.
EMMA: The Baroness is the reason for Cruella, unfortunately, and that’s very sad but it’s a wonderful idea to see why someone becomes what they become. For her (Estella), the Baroness is a kind of dream personage, someone who doesn’t really exist. She is the figure behind this extraordinary house of fashion, and when she sees her she’s overwhelmed and dazzled by her but it doesn’t take long before she understands quite who she’s dealing with.
INDULGE: What drives your character, the Baroness to such shocking depravity? One could almost say you are the real Cruella in this movie!
EMMA: What drives her is not wanting ever to come second and not wanting ever to share the limelight with anybody else. What drives her is her narcissistic and balefully difficult personality, her personality disorder essentially. She’s not well. I mean she’s really, really not well. She’s obviously a very, very, very creative woman and a brilliant designer, but then this other person comes along who is better and modern and hip and chic and young and everything she can’t bear.
INDULGE: And what was it like working with the other Emma (Stone)?
EMMA: I had met Em a long time before so I knew we were going to have a good time. So, yes, she’s my favorite young American and I just feel very lucky. What you always remember about Cruella is that coat and the hands and the gloves and these huge eyes. Em’s got these massive kind of car headlamp eyes so she couldn’t be more right for it, but also because she’s her, you’re very drawn to her, and that’s very important. You couldn’t make this film if you really didn’t want to watch that person.
INDULGE: The entire cast is mesmerizing.
EMMA: All wonderful actors…Every single part is so beautifully played. I can’t tell you how much fun we’ve had when somebody comes on…Craig’s cast it wonderfully well, but the two leads are women who are working and who are adversaries in their work, and you don’t see that very often.
–– Kelly Fine
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.