Mark Strong has said he feels “proud” to be part of a film that could bring people back into cinemas after a long absence.
The Kingsman actor stars opposite Emma Stone and Dame Emma Thompson in Cruella, the origin story of the Disney villain from 101 Dalmatians, one of the first new releases since multiplexes reopened.
The film is showing in cinemas as well as on streaming service Disney+ Premier Access, which requires an additional fee.
It is one of a number of films that cinema bosses are hoping will lure audiences back to the big screen, after months of watching movies on their sofa at home.
Other upcoming titles include Marvel’s Black Widow, Fast And Furious 9 and the Bond film No Time To Die, which were all delayed during the pandemic so they could get cinema releases.
Strong told the PA news agency: “I certainly feel proud being part of a film that might be one of the films that got people back into the cinema.
“We shot the second season of my TV series Temple, which I do for Sky, during the pandemic, and I think we were one of the first shows to go back in August, with all the new protocols that you now have to have when you film, so I feel immensely proud of that.
“And if this is, as I say, a film that gets people back into the cinema and helps us all back onto the road to have some kind of normality, that’s something to feel good about.”
Strong said the origin story “allows you to explore a deliciously evil person, while at the same time, kind of sympathise”.
He added: “At the end, when she obviously turns into the Cruella that we know and love to hate, you’re with her, you’re on her side.
“Whereas Glenn Close (who played Cruella De Vil in the 1996 live-action film), with all due respect, she was just nasty and villainous, and you had like a pantomime villainy who you wanted to boo and hiss.
“I feel like with Emma (Stone)’s Cruella, you want to be on the team.
“And I feel like John the valet (his character), is on her team at the end, and it looks like they may even go on to have some adventures.”
Asked about the prospect of a sequel, Strong said: “There was no indication that that would be the case. And I think with all these things, it depends on how it does, but it seems that the initial reviews and reaction to it have been really favourable.
“I love the idea that this is one of the first films that people could go back to the cinema to see. So hopefully it will generate interest because it was made with love.”
Cruella is in cinemas and on Disney+ with Premier Access now.