Stone and Thompson loved going to the dark side for Cruella
They had the 'best time' exploring their characters and donning dramatic costumes for Disney movie
Oscar winners Emma Stone and Emma Thompson relished going to deliciously dark places for Cruella, the live-action film about the rebellious early days of notorious villain Cruella de Vil from the 101 Dalmatians Disney franchise.
Set in 1970s London, the crime caper follows mischievous grifter Estella (Stone), whose relationship with the terrifying fashion designer, Baroness von Hellman (Thompson), leads to her embracing her wicked side and becoming the vengeful Cruella.
It opens in cinemas here on May 27 and will stream on Disney+ with premier access for a single additional fee of $38.98 from May 28.
US actress Stone, 32, was the studio's first and only choice to play the titular antagonist when the idea for the film first came up six years ago.
She said during a Zoom press conference from Los Angeles: "It is maybe not like a really intense kind of R-rated film, but it was definitely darker than I have seen a Disney movie for a good long time."
And Stone preferred breaking bad as Cruella compared with playing Estella as "it is so much fun".
She said: "Estella is sweet, but she is not fully embodied.
"There is something about Cruella that is pretty enticing. This is not necessarily an aspirational character, except for the fact that she is really harnessing her creativity and who she is in a strong way, and she is learning to accept that who she is in her nature does win in the end."
She added: "And if you are someone like me who kind of has a face that is made of rubber and is always trying to sort of contain a little bit, (do) teaspoons instead of buckets, when you get to throw buckets, it is a joy."
And what was it like for Thompson to create the Baroness, a fabulously stylish yet living nightmare of a woman?
"Oh, well, you know, I drew on the life, obviously. I think if my husband were in the room, he would say, 'And no acting required really,'" quipped the 62-year-old English thespian.
"Like Em (Stone), I am very interested in the dark side of a female character, because they are so rarely allowed to be dark. And bad mothers are simply unforgivable."
She added: "I had the best time, because I have been asking for quite a number of years if I could be a proper villain.
"And I spent decades playing what my mother used to call 'good women in frocks'. And now I got to play a really evil woman in frocks.
"But oh boy, the frocks. They wore me, actually, is really what happened.
"Every time Em and I would come on set, we would just look at each other and walk around each other, like we were sculptures or works of art... Everyone created the Baroness, and then I sort of stepped in and just said the words."
Thompson also joked how "pretending to be mean came horribly easily".
She said: "I was very well brought up by kind and wonderful parents and surrounded by lovely, kind people. My experience of people who were truly mean, hard and narcissistic is quite rare. But there are quite a number of them in show business. Mentioning no names."