The new Disney movie Cruella may be an origin story for the titular villain, but it’s the Baroness story just as much.
Played to perfection by Emma Thompson, the Baroness is Cruella’s antagonist and she dazzles in the highest fashion while delivering lines positively laced with venom and sarcasm. She’s deliciously evil and is the villain we hate, but the kween we secretly stan.
But make no mistake, under this polished, smooth and chic varnish hides a terrible, selfish and cruel person. Think of her as Miranda Priestly (from The Devil Wears Prada) made up of 11, with no redeeming qualities other than her commitment to success.
It’s a far cry from the characters the famous actress is known for and far from who she is in real life.
Speaking to international media at Cruella’s global press conference on May 16, the warm and witty British comedian shared the inspiration behind her character and singled out the bad guys in showbiz.
The 62-year-old said: “I found pretending to be mean, well, it came horribly easy. I was brought up very well by a very nice and wonderful woman – my mother – and my dad, a wonderful man. I was surrounded by lovely, kind people, and my experience with really mean, hardened, narcissistic people is quite rare. “
It’s unclear who Emma is referring to as there have been a number of big names in Hollywood who have been accused of being mean.
Daytime talk show host Ellen Degeneres has been accused of bullying and creating a toxic work environment. Glee star Lea Michele has also been accused of racism and bullying her former black co-star on the show. Not to mention the slew of sexual abuse allegations against some male stars in the industry.
“So horror in any profession, in any field, is always possible. I guess the Baroness is a mixture of all kinds of people. She’s pretty venal but her greed is really, just for. herself. She can’t stand anyone else. to be successful in any way. She has to destroy the competition instead of thinking that competition could improve her game, could make it better … [She] contains the inevitable seeds of its own destruction because it cannot recognize the talent of any other person, ”she explained.
Cruella is a live action film about the origin story of Cruella de Vil (played by Emma Stone). It takes place in 1970s London in the midst of the punk rock revolution and follows a young con artist named Estella (before becoming Cruella) who is determined to become a fashion designer. She ends up catching the attention of fashion legend Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson) and their relationship sets off a chain of events and revelations that lead Estella to embrace her villainous side.
Emma facetiously added that, like the Baroness, she found it “very difficult” to work with someone younger, more beautiful and more talented.
In other words, her co-star Emma Stone.
She said curtly, “I swallowed my bitterness and got over it.” Especially while drinking negronis, one after the other, until late at night.
Succeed at what cost?
Playing a villain is kind of a dream come true for Emma, who mentioned that her mother described her previous roles as “good women in dresses”.
“Now I have to play a really mean woman in dresses,” she joked.
There is another side of the coin, however, to his terrible personality.
As Emma explained, “She’s completely hardened and believes in harshness. She thinks it’s the only way… the Baroness is so determined and she says this wonderful thing.
“She said, ‘If I hadn’t been stubborn, maybe I should have put my genius at the bottom of the drawer, like so many other genius women who have died without producing anything, without using their genius.’ And indeed, that’s a very good point. “
Although Emma doesn’t follow the same path as the Baroness – even though she enjoys exploring the dark side of women – she admitted that the character’s commitment to her own creativity “is rather admirable.”
It’s fun to be bad
As for the youngest (and most beautiful and talented – kidding) Emma, there’s something appealing about embracing the dark side. She found it great fun playing Cruella because she can give it all.
Before Cruella became completely evil, her mother taught her to hide, not to feel. Instead, she tried to become the sweet, sweet Estella.
When asked which side of the character she preferred the most, the 32-year-old replied, “Estella is sweet, but she’s not fully embodied. So, I would say, there’s something about it. Cruella that’s pretty attractive because she is who She is. She’s in full acceptance and self-reliance there. So I’m kind of interested in this world of Cruella.
“Having said that, she does have some boundaries that I wouldn’t necessarily cross. But to be honest, I sort of prefer Cruella.”
And within that duality lies the complexity and depth of the character as the series explores how Cruella’s weakness evolves into his strength.
Emma explained that at first Estella learns that her volatility and responsiveness is a weakness. But, as Cruella, she harnesses it and makes it work to her advantage through her creativity and genius.
She said: “I think this is really a movie about how your weaknesses sort of become your strengths. Although, again, this isn’t necessarily an ambitious character so to speak. Other than the fact. that she’s really harnessing her creativity and who she is in a really strong way.
“She’s learning to accept that who she is in her nature really wins in the end.”
Cruella hits theaters on May 27 and will be available on Disney + with Premiere Access on May 28.