Even Oscar winners get self-conscious when it comes to perfecting their craft.
"Practicing the laugh … I couldn't do that in front of anybody," the actress 32, recently said, according to The Mirror. "That was just humiliating to work on," she added.
Rather than suffer the embarrassment on-set or in public, Emma said she worked up to the laugh that ended up in the film by working on it when she was in the one place she knew nobody could hear her.
"I was in the shower trying to figure out how you perfect your own evil laugh. It has nothing to do with being an actor," she said, joking, "I did all of my cackling in the shower. I did my cackling alone."
Emma doesn't think anyone else in her position would have approached the task differently, either.
"That's like any person – go take a shower and try to do your version of a laugh and just see if you'd ever want to do that in front of a person. It's brutal," she said.
As it turns out, all that shower cackling was worth it. The Disney origin story — which sets Cruella's rise to evilness against the backdrop of London's 1970s-era punk scene, where the orphan Estella Miller nurtures her mean streak while working in a fashion house run by Emma Thompson's similarly evil Baroness — has already garnered strong reviews.
The role was also straight-up fun for Emma to play.
"I loved the character of Cruella," Emma recently told The New York Times. "I don't mean I love the things that drove her, because she's obviously a very sick woman, but I found the character very interesting."
She went on to reveal that her Broadway experience in "Cabaret" served as a kind of stepping stone to "Cruella."
"I was in the middle of shooting 'La La Land' when I first heard of 'Cruella,'" recalled Emma, who won an Academy Award for the 2017 musical.
"And it was so exciting to think about playing a quote-unquote villain because before that, the only role where I felt I had been kind of bad was when I played Sally Bowles in 'Cabaret' [on Broadway], because she's a drug addict and she's making decisions that are kind of wild. She's not like anyone I had ever accessed before."
"Cruella" hit theaters and Disney+ on May 28.