Cruella actor Mark Strong highlights the large scale of the fashion and ballroom sequences in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake.
Audiences of Disney’s upcoming Cruella should expect storytelling on a grand scale, says co-star Mark Strong. Known to fans for his recent roles as Merlin in the Kingsman movies and Dr. Thaddeus Sivana in Shazam!, Strong is one of many notable cast members of Disney’s new live-action movie about 101 Dalmatians villain, Cruella de Vil.
Helmed by director Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) and with Emma Stone in the titular role, Cruella is an origin story of the fur-obsessed madwoman, showing how her early career as a fashion designer in 1970s London sparked her insatiable obsession with Dalmatian skins. Fellow Oscar-winner Emma Thompson is set to play the Baroness, while Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya, Richard Jewell) and Joel Fry (Game of Thrones) have been respectively cast as Jasper and Horace, Cruella’s henchmen from the animated classic. Rumors about Dev Patel’s involvement as ‘Raj’ aka Roger Dearly, the eventual owner of the 101 Dalmatian pups, remain unconfirmed. Cruella wrapped filming back in November of 2019, avoiding any mid-production shutdown due to COVID-19, and is currently scheduled to release in March of next year.
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Fans have been eager to learn what the movie would look like since it was announced, and in a recent interview with Collider, Strong gives them a taste. After citing his admiration for Gillespie’s previous work as a key reason for his involvement, Strong describes being awed by the movie’s scale while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere on set:
“It was fantastic being on set. It’s such a massive production. There are huge fashion and ballroom sequences in it, which are just so impressive. I got to be on set during those days and spend most of my time with the two Emmas – Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. It was just great being able to shoot the breeze with those guys during the downtime, and then play with them, telling this fantastical story that I think people are thoroughly going to enjoy, when the cameras were rolling. What the film does, which is brilliant, is try to throw a light on where the Cruella that we think we know has come from. It’s a development story, as you see Cruella grow into the Cruella de Vil that we know and love to hate.
Fans of the iconic Disney character looking forward to this reimagining should see Strong’s positivity as a good sign, and his comments offer some insight into Gillespie’s approach to the material, which appears to be heavy on spectacle. The Australian director already displayed a talent for recreating historical periods with I, Tonya, which was set primarily in the 1980s and ’90s, and Strong’s singling out of the fashion and ballroom sequences suggests he is really diving into the visuals of 1970s London. That earlier film also featured some of 2017’s most striking female performances, with Allison Janney even taking home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and it sounds like Gillespie’s playful approach to set could provide Stone and Thompson with similar opportunities.
Those less impressed by Disney’s recent string of live-action remakes might worry that Cruella will fall into the style-over-substance trap, but with the villainess being notoriously style-obsessed, the large-scale production could still be rooted in character. I, Tonya‘s stylization was dedicated to immersing the audience in protagonist Tonya Harding’s perspective, and Cruella will hopefully give fans with a similar peek into her extravagant, psychotic mind. Of course, the most pressing question on everyone’s mind is whether this movie will stick to its theatrical release date, and Disney has announced no plans to move Cruella. Yet.
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Key Release Dates
- Cruella (2021)Release date: May 28, 2021
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