In theory, with a fun origin story for 101 Dalmatians Villain Cruella de Vil could be more challenging than a Joker movie, for example. The Batman villain could have been turned into a killer by factors beyond his control. But Cruella wants to turn puppies into coats for the fashion value! That is a choice.
Cruella Director Craig Gillespie had cut out his work for him. “The dogs [were] Something we knew we had to bring up, ”he tells Polygon. There is no 101 Dalmatians Prequel without at least one Dalmatian.
How Gillespie brings the spotted pets into the plot of the new Disney film is a squeaky moment of depravity. And it’s a sequence that the director couldn’t imagine 10 years ago. But in a way, it now defines his entire career.
[Ed. note: This story contains major spoilers for Cruella.]
Cruella begins with the young Estella, the girl who at some point turns into a fur coat and blows cigarettes High fashion Designer of the nightmares of Roger and Anita. She and her mother Catherine were kicked out of school for aggressively defending themselves against bullies and made it to London, where they hope to be supported by the Baroness (Emma Thompson). Instead, the baroness’s three guard Dalmatians jump on Estella’s mother and knock her off a cliff to her death. These dogs have blood on their paws!
“There were executives,” Gillespie admits, “who said,” Well, maybe they can scare her, and she can kind of stumble – “I’m like” No. “That splits hair. It had to be this very aggressive moment. It is one of those places where you will lean on. ”
Gillespie, a longtime commercial director who made his feature film debut with the ill-conceived comedy Mr. Woodcock, found his feature career stalled in the early 2010s. While his follow up indie, Lars and the real girl received recognition, its remake of Night of horror and the Disney sports drama Million dollar poor felt like safe bets. He says he rediscovered his voice with I, Tonya, his gnarled look at the career arc of figure skater Tonya Harding.
“I’ve been advertising for 25 years and, in some ways, I’ve taken more risks in advertising,” says Gillespie. “You can explore things more closely from the amount and the stakes that go with it.” Gillespie’s wife eventually urged him to find a film that would fit his risk-taking approach to commercials. Then I, Tonya came with. “Instead of trying to guess what audience or studio [might want]I just went with my instincts and what I really loved and enjoyed. ”
For this film, Gillespie mixed the beats of a biopic with streaks of violence and prickly humor. Every day was a balancing act of respecting the characters and pushing them to elevated places. I, Tonya With three Oscar nominations, it became the director’s biggest box-office hit. So when Disney knocked on his door to direct Cruellahe brought on I, Tonya Cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis and approached the prequel “with the same devotion. I will really go with my instincts and fight for my instincts. “
Disney has been evolving for years Cruella with different teams – the finished film has five authors between “script” and “story”. But while the structure was mostly cracked by the time Gillespie signed up, there was neither bark nor bite. So the director asked the playwright Tony McNamara, who had just worked with Emma Stone The favourite “
McNamara delivered the much-needed joke of the film. Gillespie points out a scene in which Estella discovers that the Baroness is wearing Catherine’s family heirloom necklace years after those Dalmatians knocked her mother off a cliff (off a cliff!). “The way it is written on the page, the Baroness is so frivolous,” says the director. “The scene has a lot of gravity, but the humor and calluses the baroness speaks about it blew some people away.” Some Disney producers wondered if the tone was appropriate for such a serious moment. “And I kind of looked at it like, ‘This is one of my favorite scenes!'”
Catherine’s death by dogs was only discussed temporarily; Gillespie says when people saw the execution (literal and creative) there were no more questions.
“What I love about the way it’s set up is that you have no idea it’s coming. It happens very quickly in the movie and the music we wanted to play, The Animals, doesn’t tell you what’s going to happen. Usually in a movie you have a score that evolves up to that moment so you know something bad is about to happen. Tension sets in there. My editor and I have talked a lot about the idea that it is as shocking for the audience as it is for the young Estella – the violence of it and actually seeing what happens. I really wanted to lean into it in an enjoyable way, and Disney never pulled back when they saw it. “
Gillespie and the team of recognized writers chose not to demonize Cruella with an actual vengeful canine scalping. Instead, if she dons a Dalmatian pattern dress in one of her big punk rock moments, the media speculates on whether the pattern is a real dog “let them eat cake” Fashion. The antihero never crosses the line to kill dogs, but the reputation lingers.
“She owns it,” says Gillespie. “And she says, ‘Sometimes it’s better to be what they want you to be,’ and then takes advantage of that. It’s a little comment on society today. “
Gillespie will follow I, Tonya and Cruella with Hulus imminent Pam & Tommyrefreshing the great drama surrounding the release of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape in the 1990s. The miniseries feels like an unofficial trilogy capper for everything the director has taken in during this refreshed phase of his career. Olympic figure skating acts, sex tape capers, Dalmatian deaths – the wild twists and turns are all in the orbit of female characters whose lives are written and played in one way or another.
“I’m always drawn to these outsiders and outsiders and misunderstood characters,” says Gillespie. “I feel like I’ve really found my voice.”