PRODUCTION | CRUELLA
I remember checking the weather app on my phone, praying it was going to be overcast, because that creates a softer lighting that’s easier to blend on stage
Dalmatians (1961) and 101 Dalmatians (1996) can take comfort in the fact that Disney assembled a crack team to bring Cruella’s past to life. The Favourite ’s Tony McNamara penned the script, I, Tonya ’s Craig Gillespie directed, with the Oscar-winning Jenny Beavan in charge of costume. As for the cinematography? Nicolas Karakatsanis, who describes himself as the “greenest” member of the crew, took the reins. He worked previously with Gillespie on I, Tonya , but this was his first role on a major studio film. Karakatsanis recalls: “During the production, a close friend of mine asked, ‘Aren’t you stressed about the whole experience?’ But I wasn’t – as a DOP, this level of filmmaking is what you dream of, so I just grabbed the bull by the horns and enjoyed every minute of it. Of course, there’s always going to be challenges, especially when working on a film of this scale, but it’s fun to put your brain to work. I also never worked alone; I was always surrounded by talented people who have lots of experience.” One such challenge saw Karakatsanis follow Emma Stone, who plays the young de Vil, as she crawls in and out of an
underground passageway and up an exterior staircase attached to a broken-down building. When she reaches the top, she loses her footing and falls through an open window on the roof, landing inside. He says: “We did a magic transition from exterior to interior, but I had to pre- light the interior set two months in advance to filming on the street. In the days before the shoot, I remember checking the weather app on my phone, praying it was going to be overcast, because that creates a softer lighting that’s easier to blend on stage. I was in luck until the evening before the shoot, when the forecast changed to sunny. It’s very hard to replicate true sunlight on a set, so I called my gaffer and the production manager and said: ‘I’m sorry to ask this so late in the day, but we’re going to need a gigantic silk above the set.’ “They knew it was a shitty thing for me to ask, but these guys are so good. When I arrived at the location the next morning, they’d already arranged a 60ft silk on a huge construction crane. I don’t know how many hours or people it took to build, but it was there. That’s the great thing about Disney – the production managers never shut down an idea because of cost or complications.
ABOVE Emma Stone plays Estella (Cruella) de Vil, as she descends into villainy
10 DEF I N I T ION | JUNE 202 1
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