Mind-Bending “Cruella” Packs Killer Soundtrack
“If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will. To see her is to take a sudden chill …”
Viewers wait until a profoundly clever “Cruella” post-credit scene to hear Roger strike the piano keys with Mel Levin’s original tune for the original 1961 Disney-produced “101 Dalmations” theme song: “Cruella de Vil.”
Instead, the soundtrack to blockbuster “Cruella,” released on Friday, packs a powerful and budget-blowing punch of 1960s and 70s popular rock anthems.
Set during the 1970s rise of punk rock in London, the soundtrack to “Cruella” twists and turns about as swiftly as the legendary villian does as she swerves through the streets of London in her Panther de Ville.
Like the custom car, which features a Jaguar engine, this soundtrack also spared no expense.
“When [Disney President of Production] Sean [Bailey] pitched it to me, he talked about the tracks from I, Tonya and how they wanted to really embrace music with this. So I warned them up front that there was going to be a huge bill for this. We had 48 songs in I, Tonya. We had basically 50 songs in this,” said “Cruella” director Craig Gillespie in an interview with Den of Geek.
Tracks that Drive Estella’s Metamorphisis
Gillespie, who also directed “I, Tonya,” did not disappoint. The shocking and unpredictable origin story uses the soundtrack as a poignant driver of life-changing events for gifted fashion designer Estella, perfectly portrayed by Academy Award-winner Emma Stone.
Each song juxtaposes the often-tragic and cruel events that take place, eventually pushing trying-to-be-good Estella over the edge into madness as vengeful villianess Cruella.
“It’s all in the prep. You really have to design the movie to support it. The camera and the way the camera moves in the scenes, it has to be designed around the music. So that’s all mapped out in advance. We know where there are going to be songs in the film. It’s like, ‘Okay, this is going to transition to a song here. We will have about 30, 40 seconds,’ and so forth,” Gillespie said in the Den of Geek interview.
Killer Soundtrack Choices
Headlined by classics like “She’s a Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones, “Five to One” by The Doors, “These Boots are Made for Walkin” by Nancy Sinatra, and “Come Together” by Ike & Tina Turner, the soundtrack almost provides theme songs for the dueling women in a way sure to be remembered like other notable anthems. (Think Luke’s signature Star Wars tune.)
Gillespie intentional placement of “Five to One,” a 1968 rock hit penned by The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, provides the most threatening tone for the introduction of the sinister Baroness von Hellman, convincingly played by Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson.
“So I just threw the Doors on it on the day. … But it just was so foreboding and just felt like so ominous and just relentless, like there was no stopping her. That never changed,” Gillespie added in the earlier mentioned interview.
In the words of Cruella, “it’s a world of opportunity, and I was meant for more in this life.”
The film’s soundtrack certainly took advantage of the phrase with its dedication to the classic hits of the era as well as an original song by Florence and the Machine titled “Call Me Cruella.”
“Cruella” debuted Friday for a $27M debut in theatres and via premiere access on Disney+.