Emma Stone Says Disney’s Smoking Ban Made Becoming Cruella a Bit More ‘Difficult’

"I was so excited to have that green plume of smoke in there," Stone said. "But it was not possible."
CRUELLA, Emma Stone as Cruella de Vil, 2021. © Disney+ / Courtesy Everett Collection
©Disney+/Courtesy Everett Collection

Emma Stone’s eponymous turn in Disney’s live-action prequel “Cruella” is missing one iconic facet of the character: Her trademark cigarette and long cigarette holder. That’s because Disney started banning smoking in all of its films as early as 2007, then extended the ban to all Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Pixar offerings in 2015. But the ban didn’t stop Stone from wanting to pick up Cruella’s cigarette holder for her new movie.

“That is not allowed in 2021,” Stone said when The New York Times brought up Cruella being a non-smoker in the live-action movie. “We are not allowed to smoke onscreen in a Disney film. It was difficult to not have that cigarette holder…I was so excited to have that green plume of smoke in there, but it was not possible. I don’t want to promote smoking, but I’m also not trying to promote skinning puppies.”

All of the major studios have put a ban on smoking in some capacity over the years, with Warner Bros. starting to limit onscreen smoking as far back as July 2005. Netflix made headlines in July 2019 for pledging to eliminate smoking in all programming not aimed exclusively for adults. A spokesperson for the streaming giant said at the time, “Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively onscreen can adversely influence young people. Going forward, all new projects that we commission with ratings of TV-14 or below for series or PG-13 or below for films, will be smoking and e-cigarette free — except for reasons of historical or factual accuracy.”

As for “Cruella,” Emma Stone is receiving rave reviews for her performance as the iconic Disney villain. The actress previously stirred up buzz for the movie when she tempered rumors the film was Disney’s version of “Joker,” which the trailers for the film led many fans to believe. “It’s very different from ‘Joker’ in many ways,” Stone said in March. “I would never even remotely compare myself to Joaquin Phoenix. I wish I was more like him.’

“Cruella” is playing in theaters as of May 28 and will also be available for $29.99 on Disney+ via the streamer’s Premier Access banner.

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