A Journey through the Dazzling & Daring World of ‘Cruella’
Disney’s live-action film, ‘Cruella’ pulls the audience into a roller coaster of fashion, rebellion, and origins, blending the vibrant punk era with the timeless charm of 1970s London. It weaves the transformation of Estella, played by Emma Stone, from a struggling thief to the iconic Disney villain, Cruella de Vil. But where was the magic concocted? Journey with us as we explore the fascinating real-life locales and meticulous sets that breathed life into ‘Cruella’.
Setting the Stage: Shepperton Studios
This renowned studio in Surrey, England, served as the primary canvas where over 130 sets were crafted to portray the diverse interiors in ‘Cruella’. Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton designed sets ranging from Cruella’s eclectic loft, shared with her accomplice-thieves Jasper and Horace, to the opulent interiors of the Baroness’s residences. These sets were crucial in accentuating the stark differences between the characters’ worlds, exemplifying their contrasting lives and values.
The Heart of the Story: London
Beyond the studios, the film explored the richness of nearly 40 different locations in London. Iconic landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the mall to Victoria Memorial, and Regent’s Park adorned the screen, showcasing the architectural treasures of the city. Certain scenes, however, played a game of illusion, with moments captured in Greenwich masquerading as sequences in Regent’s Park. The famous red-carpet scene where Cruella makes a dramatic entrance atop a car was framed against the historical backdrop of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
The Fashion Citadel: Liberty, London
One cannot speak of ‘Cruella’ without mentioning Liberty, the famous department store on Great Marlborough Street. It is here where Estella embarks on her journey in the fashion world, albeit as a cleaner. While the film managed to incorporate London’s diverse architecture, CGI played a pivotal role in ensuring the city’s modern elements did not intrude into Cruella’s 1970s realm.
The Grand Abodes: RAF Halton Hall & Englefield House
Venturing outside the bustling city, ‘Cruella’ brought the Baroness’s lavish residences to life through England’s grand houses. RAF Halton Hall in Buckinghamshire represented the exterior of the Baroness’s London home, while Englefield House near Reading stood in for her country home, Hellman Hall. These locations have previously lent their grandeur to several acclaimed productions like ‘X-Men: First Class’ and ‘The Crown’. In ‘Cruella’, they become silent witnesses to the unfolding drama and dark secrets of the characters.
Crafting Realism & Nostalgia: Aldermaston
Even a place as seemingly mundane as an old cement business in Aldermaston, Berkshire, found a place in Cruella’s tapestry, serving as the exterior of journalist Anita Darling’s office. This location harmonized with the visual style of London’s buildings in the film, reinforcing the coherent atmosphere of 1970s England.
A Symphony of Locations
‘Cruella’ is not just a tale of transformation and rebellion; it is a cinematic journey through diverse landscapes, iconic buildings, and meticulously crafted sets. From the eclectic lofts to grand houses and the charming streets of London, each location in ‘Cruella’ was a brushstroke in painting the vivid and vibrant world of the iconic villain. These locations, teeming with stories and histories of their own, became the silent narrators of Estella’s metamorphosis into Cruella, telling a tale of glamour, ambition, and anarchy.