‘Cruella’ VFX team creates some of its wickedly stunning scenes in new BTS video


Collider recently posted a YouTube video from MPC Film that breaks down the VFX inner-workings of Cruella, Disney‘s successful live-action prequel starring Emma Stone as the titular villain. The video shows the ins and outs of the most iconic scenes, moments, and outfits. As all those who were fortunate enough to watch Cruella will know, the magic of the reimagined Disney classic truly lies in the stunning visuals and the tireless efforts of the costume design department.

In the video, which strips away all the post-production elements for a before and after comparison, reveals how the VFX team modified colors, light, and environmental hindrances to give Cruella its unique tone and an atmosphere reminiscent of 1970’s London. Within the modifications, the VFX team adds digital models to represent structures and animals — specifically Cruella’s Dalmatians.

Additionally, VFX touch-ups removed elements from the frame, including some birds-eye shots from London that show how buildings were erased or altered for the prequel, which was supposed to be set in the 1970s. Subsequently, the VFX had to transform the whole environment and remodel London as we know it to avoid anachronism.

Production VFX Supervisor Max Wood explains how some scenes were created, such as the ball scene where Cruella first reveals her villainous persona. In the unforgettable scene, Cruella burns a paper cloak to unveil the redesigned version of the Baroness’ old dress hidden underneath. Although the scene only has three shots, the VFX team worked with extreme precision to produce the effect of the flaming cloak. As Wood mentions:

The three shots were first filmed with Cruella, Emma Stone, wearing the red dress. Then, after a hair, make-up, and costume change, she repeated the action in the white hooded cape for all three shots. We knew that the cape would be CG but these takes gave the Visual Effects team a perfect reference of how the cape would move and how the shiny fabric would look under the on-set lighting.

Max Wood via MCP Film

By filming Emma Stone with different costumes, the VFX team could gather references to simulate (and recreate using a template) the movement of the paper cloak that Cruella ignites — thereby keeping some aspect of realism. However, lighting it on fire and making it look realistic was a challenge in itself. As Wood explains:

As it [the cloak] ignites, not only do the small pieces break away, but there is an overall rising effect of the cape to simulate what happens to real flash paper when ignited. Once the cape began to move correctly, flames and smoke were simulated, and a lighting effect was added to the surrounding environment and party-goers to integrate the effect.

Max Wood via MPC Film

Cruella features an ensemble cast, including Paul Walter Hauser, Joel Fry, Emma Thompson, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mark Strong, John McCrea, and Kayvan Novak. Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) takes the directorial helm. Due to the Cruella‘s roaring success at both the box office and during its time on Disney Plus, Disney has since greenlit a sequel with Stone set to reprise her role.

Watch Cruella right now on Disney Plus and watch the full video here.