Oscar winner Emma has a new DIsney role
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Cruella star Emma Stone has revealed the secret behind her maniacal screen laugh – and what makes her cry in real-life.
The Oscar-winning actress says she was too self-conscious to practise her cackle in front of other people – so perfected it in the shower.
And with rave reviews pouring in for her portrayal of wicked Cruella de Vil, it looks like she pulled it off perfectly.
Emma said: “Practising the laugh… I couldn’t do that in front of anybody. That was just humiliating to work on.
“I was in the shower trying to figure out how you perfect your own evil laugh. It has nothing to do with being an actor.
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Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action Cruella
(Image: 2019 Disney Enterprises)
“I did all of my cackling in the shower. I did my cackling alone.
“That’s like any person – go take a shower and try to do your version of a laugh and just see if you’d ever want to do that in front of a person. It’s brutal.”
Emma had a tough act to follow after Glenn Close played Cruella so brilliantly in the 1996 version of 101 Dalmatians, and the sequel.
That’s not to mention the 1961 Disney cartoon which started it all.
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In La La Land, with Ryan Gosling
But in Cruella, Emma plays the baddie as a young fashion designer.
There is already talk of an Academy Award nomination for Emma, who won an Oscar for La La Land in 2017.
Yet despite all her success, she admits being in awe of fellow stars – and often bursts into tears when she’s around them.
Emma said: “I do not very often play it cool, but I think I tried to keep it semi-cool in front of Steve Martin because I’ve cried in front of multiple other people and it’s got to stop.
Emma wept meeting Diane Keaton
“I have this instinct to burst into tears when it’s someone whom I’ve really admired since childhood so it’s happened too many times.
“I’ve cried in front of Diane Keaton, I didn’t cry in front of Bill Murray, but I walked away and cried, and then I was in the elevator for the first time with Lorne Michaels and I turned into the corner of the elevator and cried.
“I don’t do it as much any more, but in my early 20s it just would overwhelm me so much. I was like a chihuahua. I’m fine now.”
Emma did manage not to cry when she was presented with her Oscar by Leonardo DiCaprio in 2017.
But she kept her cool with Steve Martin
She said: “I have seen Titanic seven-and-a-half times in theatres. He was the love of my life. I had a signed picture of him in my bedroom that I got for my birthday when I was 12. I was walking to Leo… and I was like, ‘This is officially the most surreal moment of my life’. I could not believe it. I think he probably thinks I’m a little weird because whenever I see him, I’m kinda, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’
Emma has since had another Oscar nomination – as best supporting actress for her portrayal of servant Abigail opposite Olivia Colman in period drama The Favourite. Olivia, 47, went on to win best actress for her role as Queen Anne.
With Olivia Colman in The Favourite
Emma’s career goes back more than 15 years and her first roles were credited under her real name of Emily and her original acting name of Riley. She explained: “I changed my name to Riley for a minute when I was 16. I was a teenager and they said you could change your name and I was like, ‘What’s a cool name? Riley is a cool name. I’ll be Riley’.
“And then that totally freaked me out, so I changed it to Emma. Anybody who knows me calls me Emily. I do like the distinction because if I hear Emma, I know I must be working.”
The actress says her public persona is a whole world away from her real self.
Emma is a movie hit as Cruella
(Image: Disney Enterprises)
“I don’t have social media or really engage in that side of my life,” she said. “I can compartmentalise to a degree. I love my job, but it has always been very much a job to me and I don’t think that success or failure defines me.
“I’ve made mistakes in my career and done things that I would not choose to do now. That affects me pretty deeply.
“But when it comes to success or failure of the film itself, or if my performance is really s***, I was trying something, I was grateful for the challenge and I was grateful for the opportunity.
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“A lot of people talk about getting a thick skin and don’t let things bother you but to be an artist, you actually need to have thin skin.
“I think that weakness of being vulnerable and having a thin skin is incredibly important.
“I guess my thin skin would be my weakness that I am glad I have.” Cruella focuses on the dark side of a young Estella Miller – a grafter determined to make a name for herself in the fashion world.
Emma and Leo at the Oscars
When Estella meets two thieves who admire her appetite for mischief, they go on to build a life for themselves on the streets of London.
But when Estella befriends fashion legend Baroness von Hellman – played by another Emma, British actress Dame Emma Thompson – she embraces her wicked side and goes on to become the raucous and revenge-bent Cruella de Vil.
Playing the baddie also inspired Emma to examine the morals of the Disney story. She said: “I had a lot of questions. In some ways, I believe it’s very much a cautionary tale. But I do think she’s pretty inspiring so, to me, it’s sort of a story of nature versus nurture. It was a very fun character to explore and to find the cracks in that villainous armour that we’ve all grown to know and love.”
Despite Cruella’s already huge box office success, Emma remains coy about any potential sequel. “We’ve got to wait and see how it does before making that kind of proclamation,” she said.
But sequel or no sequel, Emma will surely have the last laugh.