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Cruella Actors Didn’t Find Inspiration from Either 101 Dalmatians Movies


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Surprisingly, the cast and director of Disney’s next villain origin story, Cruella, says they took very little inspiration from the previous 101 Dalmatians films. Cruella seeks to tell the origin story of the classic villain Cruella de Vil who was popularized by both Disney’s 1961 animated film, 101 Dalmatians, and the 1996 live-action film adaptation of the same name. The film is set to premiere on May 28, both in theaters and as a Premiere Access release on Disney+.

Cruella tells the story of Estella de Vil, an aspiring fashion designer who becomes Cruella, the vain, exotic fur-obsessed criminal that audiences have grown up watching. The 1996 film, which is the one this upcoming version most closely aligns with, starred Glenn Close as Cruella and spurred the sequel 102 Dalmatians. Close serves as an executive producer on this film along with Emma Stone, who replaces Close as the stylish villain audiences love to hate. Characters from previous films are involved in this movie's story including Cruella's evil henchman Jasper and Horace, although they are this time played by Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser respectively.

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RELATED:Why Cruella Needs To Use The Cartoon’s Secret Tragic Backstory

In an interview with ComicBook, the stars of Cruella, along with director Craig Gillespie, revealed that not much is being pulled from previous 101 Dalmations movies. Gillespie revealed that he purposefully wanted to step away from Close’s interpretation of Cruella de Vil to allow Stone to create the character in her mind. Additionally, he divulged that he wanted to explore a specific punk era of London as an influence for the character and the world. The actors' and director's full quotes can be read below:

Hauser: It's just funny because we went back and watched the animated feature and there's not a lot of meat on that bone. There's not much to take from. So I was ripping off Bob Hoskins' voice from the movie Hook. That was my inspiration for Horace, personally.

Fry: Yeah. I didn't look back at any of those. I didn't try enough. I just thought about the thin arms and legs and the fact that Jasper didn't have much patience for Horace's talking, and that's kind of the bit from it really. That's how Joel feels about me as well, so it kind of worked.

Gillespie: I didn't, I really didn't. I wanted to stay away from the Glenn Close version because Emma Stone has to create this character. And I felt like the fact that we're stars, I just wanted to be in it and not, I just stayed away from that. I knew for me, I really wanted to embrace this 1970s gritty London punk version of it, and so we were sort of starting with that and her character had to come out of that. And so we really had to sort of create new and create the tone of her. So I didn't look at that at all. And then the crazy thing with the101 Dalmatians, she's such a delight to watch, Cruella, and you love that she's got this humor and sort of narcissistic like biting tone to her, but we don't know anything about her. I mean, she went to school with Anita and that's about it. So in some ways it's remarkably liberating.

Gillespie is known for his work on I, Tonya, Lars and the Real Girl, and the upcoming Hulu limited series Pam & Tommy starring Sebastian Stan and Lily Collins as ‘90s it-couple Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson. In the interview, the director explained that he had free rein on I, Tonya to follow his instincts and “really go for it,” something he wanted to do for Cruella as well. He also credited Disney for giving him the opportunity to create his own version of Cruella de Vil within their world that already existed, adding that he didn’t want to disappoint the company.

While it is surprising how little Cruella took from the previous films, it is not necessarily worrying. Adding to the franchise with something new, original, and full of life is a refreshing way to approach a live-action remake, especially since few of Disney’s live-action remakes have done this. The fact that everyone involved really attempted to make Cruella their own rather than copying something that has been done before is a very good sign for fans.

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