Cruella is Disney’s latest evil biopic. Here’s five things to watch out for

Emma Stone gives us the back story of the most fashionable villain, Cruella de Vil.

Emma Stone gives us the back story of the most fashionable villain, Cruella de Vil. Photo: Disney

Disney’s Cruella hit Australian cinemas just days ago – and it’s making us question everything we thought we knew about good and bad, villains and heroes, and two-tone hair.

Portrayed by Emma Stone, Cruella plots the life before we met the fur-loving de Vil in 101 Dalmatians.

Before she was Cruella she was Estella; living in 1970s London and pushing her way through the fashion world with a combination of crime and daring judgment calls.

It’s directed by Australian Craig Gillespie, who revealed he rewatched classic flicks like Oceans Eleven to find inspiration for the crime hijinks Cruella takes on.

The costumes, choreographed by Jenny Beavan, draw on the film’s punk setting, throwing in high fashion – Vivienne Westwood meets The Devil Wears Prada.

The result is a terrifying production that threatens to destroy everything we thought we knew about those animated dalmatians from 1961. (Maybe they would look better as coats, if Cruella says so?)

It’s also the latest in Disney’s decision to document the backstories of its most famous villains, following on from the success of Maleficent.

“As every production head came in to join the film, I would immediately stop them and say, ‘We’re not making a Disney movie. Don’t think of this like a Disney film. Think of this like a coming-of-age punk story in London with all the grit’,’’ Gillespie told The Hollywood Reporter.

But Gillespie still included a couple of nods to the original animation – here’s five of the subtle references to look out for in Cruella.

(They’re what’s known as ‘Easter eggs’, a term coined after The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where there was an Easter egg hunt on set – but the cast and crew didn’t find all the eggs, so you can spot some of them in the background throughout the film.)

Dogs and their owners

We all know the adage, dogs look like their owners (or is it owners look like their dogs?)

There was a nod to this in the original Dalmatians, where we see a bunch of duos, including a long-haired lady and her dog with a similar ‘do. Keep an eye out for this pair in Cruella.

So that’s Anita

We all know Anita Darling, the dog mum to Perdita, the dog who gives birth to 15 pups at the start of 101 Dalmatians.

(Anita, darling!)

It turns out, according to Cruella lore, Anita went to school with young Estella, they were classmates.

As they grow up, Anita moves into journalism and photography – and in a twist, ends up helping Cruella win the public’s heart.

(And there’s no Anita Darling without Roger Radcliffe, the man who gave us the Cruella de Vil song. He’s got a small part in this film, with a nod to his musicality.)

Vroom vroom!

Cruella is iconic – from her hair, to her clothes, to her coupé de ville.

And the car naturally features in her hero film, with Stone somehow perfectly capturing the manic driving pose of the original animated character.

It’s pretty clear she watched one particular scene in the 1961 movie several times over to get it just so.

Animated Cruella driving scene

Remember the final scene in the 1961 animation – the great chase? It provides inspiration for Stone’s Cruella.

Sitting in front of the tube

In the animated version, we see the pups gathered around the TV, watching on eagerly as cowboys duke it out in the Wild Wild West.

Turns out, it’s a way to occupy dogs that still works 60 years later.

Perdita and Pongo

At the very end of the film, we meet our canine heroes Perdita and Pongo.

They come into the lives of Anita Darling and Roger Radcliffe in a very unusual way.

Topics: Movies
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