“Cruella” Press Conference – Director and Designers Talk Inspiration, Music and More

Hi everyone!

I was invited to a virtual press conference for Cruella, which was really two press conferences in one – the first included director Craig Gillespie, and the second featured Emma Thompson and Emma Stone. I posted an article from the conference with Thompson and Stone this past week. For this press conference, the participants were director Craig Gillespie; costume designer (and Oscar winner) Jenny Beavan; Nadia Stacey who did hair & makeup along with production designer Fiona Crombie. Cruella is now in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access at an additional cost.

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There are several elements to the film which are going to be memorable to viewers. One is the music. There were dozens of songs included in the film, and Gillespie says that he often put music in the film as it was shot. “So like that Doors track, when we first meet the Baroness, that I threw on that day that we were shooting and it never changed”. The scene where we hear “These Boots are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra was a spontaneous choice. He thought the scene needed a song – he went to his phone and chose it. “And she came out dancing to that”.

Jenny Beavan was asked what the biggest inspiration was behind Cruella De Vil’s design. “Oh my goodness. I think she comes out of the script, actually…and the story. Because we know where she ends up about 15 years later as – you know, Glenn Close, obviously”.  Beavan continued that the inspirations were various because she is diverse in her looks. “I looked at Westwood and McQueen and Galliano, and BodyMap, and sort of dug into my past at Biba and trying to really find all those funny things that we loved”.

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The scene with the garbage truck at the ball was also brought up. Gillespie answered that it was in the script to begin with. “I was looking for ways to be visually inpactful.” He continued, “And then it was figuring out that dress, which you know, Jenny did an amazing job with”. Beavan picked up from there, mentioning the “”wonderful” Kerstin Fletcher who was with them on the team. She had just won the World of Wearable Art for New Zealand and “she did the three photobomb dresses as well as many other things”. Gillespie says, “We hung a 60-foot train on wires behind her on the back of a garbage truck down the street of London there”. It was the middle of London at 3:00 a.m.

Beavan says she is not a fashion designer, but a “storyteller with clothes”. “In fact, in my real life, I have no interest in clothes. I just love telling stories with them.”

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Crombie said that her biggest challenge were the number of sets. “The film has great pace, and we move around a lot, and there’s lots of little moments and important moments that require different sets”. She said they were busy with 120+ sets over the course of the shoot. Some of them enormous, but she is most pleased with the level of detail in the sets.

The music and fashion of Cruella were definitely highlights for me. It will be fun to see what the bonus features will be from the film later this year.