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The new Disney movie Cruella tells the story of how a young girl named Estella (Emma Stone) became Cruella de Vil. The film starts when she’s very young, and Tipper Seifert-Cleveland plays the young Estella. Seifert-Cleveland already has the black and white hair, but colors it red to fit in more. 

Cruella movie logo
Disney’s Cruella | Disney

Cruella director Craig Gillespie discussed Seifert-Cleveland at a Disney Zoom press conference. Here’s how they found the scene stealing young Cruella de Vil.

Emma Stone was a tough act to follow in ‘Cruella’

Grown-up Stone established the definitive Cruella de Vil. Whoever was going to play young Estella in the early scenes had to match her. That was no easy feat.

Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action ‘Cruella’
Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action ‘Cruella’ | Laurie Sparham/Disney

“It’s pretty formidable to try and find Emma Stone’s child version,” Gillespie said. “Because she’s such a nuanced actor, and she’s got such a strength and a humor to her performances all the time. So we did a pretty exhaustive search in London looking for that.”

How Tipper Seifert-Cleveland matched Emma Stone in ‘Cruella’ 

When she’s young, Estella’s mother (Emily Beacham) tries to teach her to be Estella, not Cruella. That’s hard when boys in school buly Estella, and she’s the one who gets in trouble for defending herself.  

“Tipper really had that sort of spunk that we were looking for,” Gillespie said. “That sort of defiance and that sort of conviction to her beliefs, and that was really critical for this child growing up in a system that didn’t allow for that in the ’60s. Just that fire in her eyes that was like really critical to find that and be able to translate that to when she grows up.  So I was thrilled with everything that Tipper brought to the party.”

Emma Stone as Estella in Cruella
Emma Stone | Laurie Sparham/Disney

Once her mother is out of the picture, Estella still grows up trying to be a good girl, although she pairs up with a couple of street hustlers. Seifert-Cleveland had a short period of time at the beginning of the film to show how Cruella de Vil started.

“We go through a very quick montage for three minutes in her school days, and you really get a sense of who this character is,” Gillespie said. “I mean, literally from the look in her eye and her defiance, and she does it with humor, which is excellent.”

Where you’ve seen Tipper Seifert-Cleveland before

Cruella was not Seifert-Cleveland’s first movie. You might have seen her on television too. In a eaason 8 episode of Game of Thrones, she played Nora Stark’s daughter. If you watched the Superman prequel Krypton in Syfy, she was in multiple episodes as Ona, a girl whose mother was controlled by Braniac.

Tipper Siefert-Cleveland on Krypton
Tipper Siefert-Cleveland | Steffan Hill/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

How Emma Stone Transformed Into Cruella de Vil

Her first series credits in 2017 were Doc Martin and Call the Midwife. In the horror film The Little Stranger, Seifert-Cleveland plays the daughter of a family living in a decrepit manor where strange occurrences take place. She also had the title role in last year’s Emily and the Magical Journey which has yet to come out in the U.S.