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BAD GRRRL Emma Stone reveals she jumped at the chance to play "enticing" Cruella lead role

"I loved the cartoon of 101 Dalmatians. I especially loved that the dogs looked like their owners. I always thought that was so funny"

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Emma as the villainous Cruella

Emma as the villainous Cruella

Emma as the villainous Cruella

She's among Hollywood's most likeable stars - but Emma Stone reveals how she had an absolute blast playing one of cinema's most notorious villains.

The Oscar winner is unfurgettable as Cruella in Disney's enjoyably dark new origins movie, explaining what turned Cruella De Vil into the puppy stealing nightmare she later became in 101 Dalmatians.

Nailing the English accent, the devious nature and a fantastical wardrobe that would put Cher to shame, the film is set in 1970s London and unfolds to a stomping soundtrack that includes Blondie, The Clash and The Doors.

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Actress Emma Stone dazzling on the red carpet

Actress Emma Stone dazzling on the red carpet

Actress Emma Stone dazzling on the red carpet

 

Like many leading stars, Stone says she empathised with the character that movie fans have loved to hate.

"I don't think I would ever be able to play a character if I truly thought they're just bad, they're just a villain," she tells Magazine+ via Zoom.

"Do you think anybody evil walks through the world thinking they're evil? I mean, I don't think so. I think they think they're right. Who walks in thinking, 'I'm the bad guy'? It doesn't really make sense for playing a human."

Directed by Craig Gillespie, who last brought us I, Tonya, we meet her as Estella, a drifter and wannabe fashion designer determined to make a name for herself.

One day, her talents catch the eye of Baroness von Hellman, played by a delightfully over-the-top Emma Thompson. She is the terrifying and very powerful fashion legend who rules the rag trade roost in the city.

As you can imagine, the outfits are flamboyant and fabulous.

"My very favourite outfit that was absolutely ludicrous was this dress that I wear on a garbage truck, because there was a 40-foot train," laughs Stone.

"That wasn't attached to the dress, because obviously I wouldn't be able to move anywhere, so they added that onto the dress at the last minute when I get onto the garbage truck. And it was just phenomenal. I mean, nothing you would ever be able to even remotely wear in real life. That really is the moment where you're like: 'I am in a movie right now'."

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Despite Cruella's penchant for puppy fur, in real life dog lover Emma enjoyed working with the Dalmatians on set.

"There's a quite a bit of dog CGI, but those dogs were always on set," she explains. "As many scenes as we could possibly have those dogs be comfortable, they were in.

"Estella's dog, Buddy, whose real name is Bobby, was the cutest and sweetest dog I had ever known in my life, and I've got a lot of dogs, so that's saying something."

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Emma loved playing Cruella

Emma loved playing Cruella

Emma loved playing Cruella

 

Emma also has her own little bundle of joy. She and her husband, Saturday Night Live writer Dave McCary, welcomed their daughter into the world in March.

The Cruella premiere was her first glitzy occasion as a new mum and she dazzled in a Louis Vuitton pantsuit.

Famed for playing good girls, she admits she loved every second on set playing the ultimate bad grrrl.

"There is something about Cruella that's pretty enticing, because she just kind of is who she is," says the 32 year old, who won her first Academy Award for La La Land in 2017 .

"She's in full acceptance and autonomy there, so I am interested in that world. That said, she does some things, some lines that I don't think I would necessarily cross.

"For a lot of roles, if you're someone like me that has a face that's made of full rubber and is always trying to contain a little bit, teaspoons instead of buckets, when you get to throw buckets, it's a joy."

Although first linked to the role a few years ago, she's been dreaming of playing the iconic Cruella since she was a little girl.

"I loved the cartoon of 101 Dalmatians," recalls Emma. "I especially loved that the dogs looked like their owners. I always thought that was so funny. I remember as a kid trying to see if dogs did in fact look like their owners - and a lot of times, they do."

While her clipped English accent has been winning her praise, Stone says that the biggest challenge for her is the more emotional scenes in a film, which always make her most nervous.

But, ironically, it's being an anxious person in real life that makes acting a good fit for her.

"The more present you can be, the more the nerves go," she reasons. "That's why I wanted to be an actor in general, because I'm naturally very anxious.

"The time I found I was most present was improvising or doing comedy or doing theatre, because you don't have time to think about all the other things that you're worried about.

"You have to just be in the moment, the more the nerves are kind of gone. That's the great gift of acting to me, not getting rid of the nerves, but using presence to move through it.

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Emma Thompson as Baroness von Hellman

Emma Thompson as Baroness von Hellman

Emma Thompson as Baroness von Hellman

 

"I think any time a character has a very important emotional scene, a scene that is incredibly poignant and moves the story along in a way that is necessary, that's always a bit of pressure," she concedes.

"You only have that one day and that one time to do it, which is the difference between theatre and film. It doesn't matter how tired you are or how you feel that day, if you are doing that scene, that's what the scene will be.

"So I think it is always a sleepless night the night before when there is something I know is a very pivotal moment that we're shooting the next day.

"That's probably the most challenging for me - but that's also why I love it."

⬤ Cruella is now available on Disney+ with Premier Access for an additional fee

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