Emma Stone Admits It Was 'Difficult' to Play Cruella de Vil Without Character's Cigarette Holder

"I don't want to promote smoking, but I'm also not trying to promote skinning puppies," Emma Stone joked of her character

Disney’s Cruella
Emma Stone in Cruella. Photo: Walt Disney Studios

Emma Stone is missing one of Cruella de Vil's signature accessories in her turn as the titular villain in Disney's new live-action film, Cruella.

In an interview with The New York Times, the 32-year-old Oscar winner said that it was "difficult not to have" Cruella's iconic cigarette holder in her hand while filming.

"That is not allowed in 2021," Stone told the newspaper, laughing. "We are not allowed to smoke onscreen in a Disney film." (Disney's then-CEO, Robert A. Iger, announced during a 2015 shareholder meeting that Walt Disney Studios would "prohibit smoking in movies across the board: Marvel, Lucas, Pixar and Disney films," with the exception of some historical figures.)

While Stone "was so excited to have that green plume of smoke in there" — as shown in the animated introduction to Cruella, 1961's 101 Dalmatians — she had to abide by the new rules.

"I don't want to promote smoking, but I'm also not trying to promote skinning puppies," the actress joked of her character.

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Disney’s Cruella
Emma Stone in Cruella. Walt Disney Studios

RELATED VIDEO: Why Emma Stone and Emma Thompson Loved Everything About Playing Bad in Cruella: "Apart from the Heels"

Coming from I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie, Cruella reimagines Disney's iconic villain in the long-awaited prequel to 101 Dalmatians, following the origin story of Cruella de Vil. Stone is the second actress to take on the role of de Vil for the big screen after Glenn Close played her in the 1996 101 Dalmatians adaptation and its 2000 sequel 102 Dalmatians.

The highly anticipated performance from Stone in Cruella is in theaters and on Disney+ Friday, with critics praising her in early reviews.

Listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on Cruella and PEOPLE's interview with Emma Stone and Emma Thompson.

Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt says the live-action revamp is "a collection of pin-drop lines and killer GIFs," noting that Stone's performance as Cruella is "both worthy of empathy and naughty enough to be safely but certifiably outrageous."

Calling it "The Devil Wears Prada on steroids," Moira MacDonald of the Seattle Times says, "Cruella is an absolute kick, and if you've been looking for a reason to go back to movie theaters, here it is."

Cruella is now playing in theaters and is available on Disney+ via paid Premier Access, with the movie coming to all Disney+ subscribers on Aug. 27.

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