blonde won’t boop-boop-a-doop its way to Netflix until the fall, but there’s already plenty to discuss about director Andrew Dominik’s latest take on Marilyn Monroe.
The highly-anticipated upcoming film stars Ana de Armas as the titular icon, exploring the contrast between her image as Marilyn Monroe and the reality of her life as Norma Jeane Mortenson. blonde follows her journey from humble beginnings to her time as a model to her years of explosive stardom and untimely death, all the while using cinematic techniques to blur the line between fact and fiction.
Dominik has called blonde “a movie for all the unloved children of the world,” telling Collider “it’s like Citizen Kane and Raging Bull had a baby daughter.” He added, “The whole idea of blonde was to detail a childhood drama and then show the way in which that drama splits the adults into a public and private self. And how the adult sees the world through the lens of that childhood drama, and it’s sort of a story of a person whose picture of the world as being overwhelmed by her dela unconscious dela, and it uses the iconography of Marilyn Monroe.”
Here’s everything we know so far about Blonde.
Netflix Ana de Armas in ‘Blonde’
While de Armas headlines the film, the cast is plenty stacked with other recognizable faces, including Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Garret Dillahunt, Caspar Phillipson, Evan Williams, Toby Huss, and Julianne Nicholson.
Brody is playing “The Playwright,” presumably a version of Monroe’s third husband, Arthur Miller. Cannavale is “The Ex-Athlete,” another of Monroe’s spouses, baseball player Joe DiMaggio.
blonde premieres Sept. 23 on Netflix. But first, it will make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, alongside other buzzy titles like Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling.
It’s based on a book
while blonde is about a real-life figure, it is also based on a novel of the same name by firebrand author Joyce Carol Oates. The book, released in 2000, is a fictional meditation on Monroe, her demons, and the cost of fame. It makes use of the same surreal, dreamy approach that the film is said to exhibit.
Oates has seen a cut of the film, and she posted her appreciation for the adaptation on Twitter. She wrote, “(just a parenthetical aside–I have seen the rough cut of Andrew Dominick’s adaptation & it is startling, brilliant, very disturbing & [perhaps most surprisingly] an utterly ‘feminist’ interpretation… not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything this.)”
blonde has already made waves for its NC-17 rating, a rare instance for a mainstream film that typically denotes graphic nudity and/or sexual content. Dominik previously admitted he was “surprised” by it, saying he thought “we’d colored inside the lines.”
“But I think if you’ve got a bunch of men and women in a boardroom talking about sexual behavior, maybe the men are going to be worried about what the women think,” Dominik told Vulture. “It’s just a weird time. It’s not like depictions of happy sexuality. It’s depictions of situations that are ambiguous. And Americans are really strange when it comes to sexual behavior, don’t you think? I don’t know why. They make more porn than anyone else in the world.”
Ana de Armas intensely prepped
De Armas is a quickly rising talent, having made her breakout turn in 2019’s Knives Out and done her time as a Bond girl in No Time to Die. But playing Monroe proved to be her greatest challenge yet, and it is likely to earn her attention for the work.
“Andrew’s ambitions were very clear from the start — to present a version of Marilyn Monroe’s life through her lens,” by Armas said in a story for Netflix’s Queue. “He wanted the world to experience what it actually felt like to not only be Marilyn, but also Norma Jeane. I found that to be the most daring, unapologetic, and feminist take on her story that I had ever seen.”
While speaking with EW about her recent film deep water, de Armas explained the grueling process and work she faced taking on the role. “It was the most intense work I’ve ever done as an actress,” she said. “It took me a year to prepare for that — research and accent and everything you can imagine. Reading material, and talking to Andrew Dominik for months, and getting ready to start. It was three months of shooting nonstop — like, a crazy schedule .”
Further complicating things, by Armas had to contend with shifting production dates due to Daniel Craig’s injury while filming No Time to Dieforcing her to ping-pong between the intense physical action of Bond and the emotional labor of portraying Monroe in blonde.
Netflix Ana de Armas’ Marilyn Monroe movie ‘Blonde’ joins the 2022 Venice International Film Festival lineup.
“I was preparing for blondeand then the film got pushed, and I got called for No Time to Die,” she said. “I went to London, and I only had like 10 days to two weeks of training, which is not much for everything I had to do, which made me very nervous.
“And then, on top of that,” she continued, “Daniel got injured and had to postpone my shoot and go back to do Marilyn Monroe, which is completely different from everything else — emotionally, mentally, and physically — and then three months later go back to London and go back to being a Bond girl. All that training I did was kind of gone and forgotten! But it all worked out, and I was working with the best team possible, and they made it happen, so I’m happy with it.”
De Armas went on to call the film “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done,” adding that she “can’t wait for it to come out. It’s a very special film, and Andrew’s a genius. He’s one of the best filmmakers I’ve ever worked with.”