My personal favorite Disney villain is Ursula. But Cruella I find fascinating because even Glenn Close, who portrayed her in the first live-action adaptation—having played many unlikeable characters on the spectrum of manipulative, tortured, insane—she said in an interview that Cruella de Vil was the only one who was completely and utterly unredeemable, which tells you something.
The Disney villains in particular, the most exaggerated ones—Cruella, Ursula—they all want something. They have this ambition or this goal or this desire, usually completely self-serving, be that creating a coat out of Dalmatian puppies or be that being the mistress of all the oceans and the seas. It’s the ambition and the hunger for something that is deemed to not be for them.
You spend a lot of time in the book on one of the most unlikeable female characters in movie history: Amy Dunne in “Gone Girl.” One of the things that interest me about her is her monologue about the pressure she feels to be “the cool girl.”
I find the whole debate around “Gone Girl” to be deeply interesting. And part of my thinking in selecting the characters to dive deeper into in the book is the cultural backlash that was created around them. And with Amy Dunne, there have been so many articles, think pieces, essays, and discussions around whether “Gone Girl” as a story is a feminist text and Amy, in particular as a character, is a feminist character.
I think it can be both and neither. So, I think “Gone Girl” is a feminist text. Amy Dunne, as a character, is not. She hates women, and she reserves a particular kind of bile and spite towards other women, both in the book and in the film. As much as she despises the shackles that she has put upon herself in order to be the cool girl, the game girl, and bend herself and her abilities and her intellect into something that would be acceptable for men and for the man that she wants, she also takes it out on other women. So, I don’t think she’s interested in female liberation or in women supporting each other.