We all get some joy and wonder from Disney movies, but there’s no ignoring the central reason they happen is to sell merchandise. Toys, games, anything that can be licensed will be. Sadly, in most cases, the crew on these adventure movies don’t see a cut of all those sweet, sweet merch sales, and a designer on Cruella believes that’s unfair.
“Costume is the one thing that is going to make money, and I think it’s outrageous,” Jenny Beavan, costume designer on Cruella, told The Guardian. “It’s also the sheer disrespect that we put our lives and soul in, working lunatic hours to give them these looks, and then they own it. I don’t think that’s right.”
She has a point. Action movies of all stripes require a huge, multidisciplinary effort, and corporations like the House of Mouse aren’t always the best at honouring every hand that touches the marble.
Beavan is prolific within costuming, having won two Academy Awards already, and up for her fourth in this year’s Oscars nominations from romance movie Mrs Harris Goes to Paris. She has tried to wield her influence for good, calling out merch deals that don’t benefit her or her peers and colleagues.
“I don’t think they did it maliciously. I don’t think they even thought about it,” she states. “Total disrespect. They have no idea what we do to make those actors go on set feeling confident, right, not even thinking about what they’re wearing. They just think it’s all about fashion.”
Of course, it’s deeper than that, and should she win again, hopefully it helps shift conversation around the technical expertise the best movies require. Our new movies guide will tell you what to look out for in the future, and if this has you curious, we have a piece on the Cruella 2 release date as well.