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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

‘Cruella’ Missed a Perfect Opportunity For A Glenn Close Cameo

There are lots of things to love about Cruella, Disney’s new prequel film for Cruella de Vil that is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ with Premier Access.

There’s Emma Stone, who is so good at playing a chaotic baddie in this movie that I never want to see her play a good girl again. There’s the soundtrack of popular rock songs from the ’60s and ’70s that pandered to me, personally. There’s Artie (Jon McCrea) from the clothing shop, who is openly gay and fabulous in a way that feels far more meaningful than a Russo brother dropping male pronouns in Avengers: Endgame.

But I couldn’t help but feel that one thing was missing from Cruella. One very important, very glamorous, very eight-time Oscar-nominated thing.

Even as I was greatly enjoying watching Emma Stone and Emma Thompson reenact the punk-rock version of The Devil Wears Prada, the nagging question wouldn’t leave my head: When the heck is Glenn Close going to show up for her cameo!?

Does Glenn Close have a cameo in Cruella?

No! Can you believe it? Disney loves cameos! Take Ming-Na Wen in Mulan, or Stan Lee in like, so many Marvel movies. But unless I completely missed it—and please do let me know if I did—Glenn Close does not appear in the new Cruella movie.

This is surprising for several reasons, the first being that Close gave a fairly iconic performance as the villainous Cruella de Vil in the 1996 live-action remake, 101 Dalmatians. Again, Stone was absolutely fabulous in her punk-rock version of the character who will grow up to someday attempt puppy murder. But when you deliver an evil laugh as memorable as Close’s Cruella cackle in 101 Dalmatians, you expect at least a brief cameo to pay homage to that.

Photo: ©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

The second reason one might expect to see Close in Cruella is that the Oscar-nominated actor was, at least at one point, attached to the 2021 film as an executive producer, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. But it’s been a long road for the live-action film. The script was originally penned by The Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, before eventually being rewritten by Dana Fox and Tony McNamara. And the original director, Alex Timbers, was later replaced by Craig Gillespie. So perhaps Close’s involvement in the film was not as significant as originally believed.

But finally, there is a scene near the end of Cruella that is so perfectly suited for a Glenn Close cameo, it feels like it was written specifically for that purpose. Here’s how it goes down: Cruella (Stone) has a plan to infiltrate the gala thrown by her fashion mentor/rival known as the Baroness (Emma Thompson). The Baroness thinks it should be easy to spot Cruella, given that she has striking black and white hair. But what the Baroness doesn’t know is that hundreds of guests attending her event decide to don Cruella cosplays, to honor the unconventional fashion designer whom they believe is dead.

Cue a montage of the Baroness’s henchpeople tackling old women in Cruella wigs. Each one turns around and reveals they are not Emma Stone. And yet, not a single one of these indignant women in wigs is revealed to be Glenn Close when they turn around. It really feels like one of them should be Glenn Close! Maybe the one who huffs “I beg your pardon,” or the one who demands, “How dare you touch me?!” Both of these things feel like something Glenn Close might say! And yet, it is not Glenn Close saying them.

Perhaps Gillespie tried to get that cameo, but Close was unavailable. Or maybe the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in things. Ah, well. It’s a missed opportunity to be sure, but, luckily, you can still see Close in a Cruella wig in 101 Dalmatians, streaming for free on Disney+.

Watch Cruella on Disney+

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