I have always been a fan of the villains in films because they are often misunderstood. However, one villain that always seemed to be just plain awful is Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp. First of all, how can anyone hate dogs at all, let alone THAT much? Second of all, how could you put a muzzle on poor, defenseless adorable Lady? However, after watching the new live action Lady and the Tramp that was made for Disney+, Aunt Sarah seemed a little less deplorable. And after chatting with Yvette Nicole Brown about the film, I discovered why.
One Improvised Line Changed It All
If I had to pinpoint a moment in Lady and the Tramp where I actually felt bad for Aunt Sarah, it would be easy. It is the moment when she comes to watch Lady, however she thinks she has come to watch Baby Lulu. Yvette did an incredible job of putting me in Aunt Sarah’s shoes in this moment, and my heart actually broke for her.
Not only did she not get to watch the baby, she didn’t even get to hold her. Just a kiss on the face is all Aunt Sarah gets to give the baby before Darling and Jim Dear rush out of the house. Aunt Sarah softly says “I didn’t even get to hold her.” as she looks longingly out the door. How could you not feel bad for her in that moment. You can just see in her eyes how badly she wanted to watch the baby.
During my interview with Yvette, she let us know that line of Aunt Sarah’s was improvised by her. Brilliant is the word I would use to describe her because line actually carries so much weight. And really puts the viewers in Sarah’s shoes. Of course just a few minutes later I was back to hating her as she takes Lady to get her muzzle. But I do still feel for her. She might hate dogs, but she sure does love her family (maybe not Jim Dear though).
The Villain Never Sees Themselves As The Villain
Something that Yvette pointed out is that the villain never sees themselves as the villain. I never really thought about this before, but it is so true. Of course they often feel like they are in the right, and not doing anything wrong. Yvette said she would never play a character that doesn’t have at least a little bit of heart.
Aunt Sarah was particularly hard for Yvette Nicole Brown to play because she actually loves dogs. In fact, she adopted one of the dogs from the set! Which is a story I love, especially having two adorable dogs myself. Her father has dementia and she thought it would be the perfect time to adopt a dog, so the two could keep each other company when she works. I have to agree — and am so happy that her world has gotten a bit bigger.
About Lady and the Tramp
An upper-middle-class American cocker spaniel named Lady and a street-smart, stray schnauzer called Tramp embark on many adventures.