'To See Her Is To Take A Sudden Chill': The Emma Stone Scene That Gave Cruella's Director Goosebumps

The 101 Dalmatians villain will eponymously be tied to the catchy tune sung by Roger Radcliffe for the 1961 classic. During the song, one lyric used to describe the devious heiress and fashion icon is “to see her is to take a sudden chill.” That’s exactly what went down in the theater when I saw Cruella's third act. At the time, I hadn't heard the Disney song in ages, but it was a perfect descriptor. Emma Stone is so good as the character that she incited a physical reaction from me, so naturally one has to wonder what it must have been like on set.

When I spoke to Cruella director Craig Gillespie for CinemaBlend, I asked the filmmaker if he had his own moment on set that gave him the kind of reaction described in the song. And as it turns out, without having revealed mine, we shared the same chilling reaction to a specific scene. Without spoiling, it's when Emma Stone returns to the fountain to claim her name as Cruella after the movie’s major climax reveal. The director shared how he captured the scene on set:

For me it’s the fountain.. that day, it’s a big monologue that she has and she’s gone through a huge emotional trauma at that point and I went to Emma and I said ‘I want to just do this as one take handheld,’ which is not the typical thing you do on such a large film. And it’s just a handheld camera and Nicolas Karakatsanis our DP, comes around and creeps up on her for three minutes, and her performance is just absolutely amazing. That gave me chills too that day and we shot it at dusk and said you’ve got 20 minutes to get the shot, I’m just going to keep rolling and I think we did seven takes. She was amazing.

Craig Gillespie made the unique decision to capture the memorable Cruella moment with a handheld camera that gives a close-up view of Emma Stone’s face as her makeup bleeds and she delivers a scathing monologue that is incredibly instrumental to her origin story as the villainess. The scene was also shot at the darkest stage of twilight in the evening, right between sunset and night time. No wonder it gave me chills; not only is Emma Stone fabulous, but the filmmaking choices were too!

It also sounds like there was more of an urgency for Emma Stone going into that scene because she only had so long to get it right as the last light of the day was quickly disappearing. In just a few takes, Stone apparently nailed it and now we can see Cruella De Vil truly become the infamous Disney villain right in front of our eyes. We're about to get into some spoilers for the movie, so if you haven't seen the Disney flick yet, here is a great time to check out one of our other awesome articles. In fact, we saw a little bit of the moment in the early looks at the film:

Emma Stone at the fountain as Cruella third act of movie

(Image credit: (Disney))

The scene comes after the revelation of Cruella's true family backstory. After spending the better part of the movie trying to enact revenge on Emma Thompson's Baroness to retrieve her mother's necklace, she is nearly foiled by the famed fashion designer's attempt to murder her. Following much of the third act, we get the aforementioned fountain monologue in which she fully accepts her name and identity as "Cruella" in a fit of rage, going back to the same fountain where she often visited to have chats with her (presumed) late mother.

Obviously Emma Stone is a star, having won her Best Actress Oscar in La La Land back in 2016 for playing aspiring actress Mia against Ryan Gosling’s charm. The actress has also been critically acclaimed for her supporting roles in 2015’s Birdman and 2019’s The Favourite. She’s taken on a number of interesting roles over the years between her comedic work in movies like Easy A and Crazy, Stupid, Love to taking on Gwen Stacy in the Amazing Spider-Man movies and portraying Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes.

Cruella is available to stream at home with Disney+ Premier Access and is playing in theaters now. In the meantime, check out what critics are saying about the Disney movie before you watch it.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.