Exclusive – Cruella director says Disney prequel is “like Joker, The Devil Wears Prada and Ocean’s 11 all tied up together”

The origin story draws on a number of disparate influences.

CRUELLA

Disney is continuing its recent spate of live-action reimaginings with the imminent release of 101 Dalmatians prequel Cruella, which debuts this Friday, 28th May.

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The film tells the origin story of the titular puppy killer against the colourful backdrop of 1970s London, and director Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) says he’s drawn on rather a disparate range of influences to bring his film to life.

“It’s sort of like the Joker, Devil Meet Prada and Ocean’s 11, sort of all tied up together!” he told RadioTimes.com ahead of the release.

Explaining that he was particularly keen to lean into the heist element of the story, he added, “I certainly looked at Ocean’s 11, just for that heist vibe of how much the audience needs to know about what’s going on in the heist, and how much they’re ahead of us.

“But yeah there’s a lot of different genres happening all at once!”

The film – which stars Emma Stone in the title role – relies heavily on adopting the flamboyant punk aesthetic of the era, and Gillespie said that most of his visual cues came from photography rather than cinema.

“There was a lot of photography,” he said. “It was really like an enormous amount of screenshots of the King’s Road, and punks, and the police. and Vivienne Westwood and the squatters and Notting Hill.

“We pulled a lot of real references to draw from with both my production designer Fiona Crombie and my DP Nicolas Karakatsanis.”

101 Dalmatians is very much a family film, of course, and while Cruella might not be as gritty as the aforementioned Joker, it’s likely the audience may skew a little older than that for the animation.

Asked if he made the film with kids in mind, Gillespie responded, “It’s probably not the right answer, but I was just trying to make something that I would be excited to go see.

“I feel like we’ve certainly got boundaries within the Disney universe that we’ve got to adhere to and be aware of, but ultimately I just wanted it universally to just be a fun movie.

“Just, am I going to go and spend money on a Saturday night and go and watch it?”

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Cruella is released in cinemas and on Disney+ premier Access on 28th May 2021. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide, or out our list of the best movies on Disney Plus and best shows on Disney Plus. Visit our Movies hub for all the latest news. You can sign up to Disney+ now for £79.90 for a year or £7.99 a month.