Venice 2022, Blonde: Ana de Armas in the Marilyn Monroe biopic

8 September, 2022

Blonde – the long-awaited Marilyn Monroe biopic had its world premiere yesterday at the 79th Venice Film Festival. Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the film boldly reimagines the life of American actress Marilyn Monroe, one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde explores the widening split between her public and private selves. Written and directed by Andrew Dominik, the film has Ana de Armas as its leading star – “I had seen Ana in Knock Knock and I knew immediately that she had to be Marilyn. It took me about two years to set up an audition with her to convince the producers. The film came alive when she officially entered the project,” said the director during the press conference. Ana de Armas went on to tell about her first meeting with Dominik: “he asked me how long I needed to prepare a scene. About a week, I told him. I knew little about Marilyn, I was far from being able to do her accent, her voice. I just wore a blonde wig, actually pretty awful, but it was important to see what I would look like, and I did all that to convince everyone else involved. Other meetings followed, camera tests, costume fittings, rehearsals with the voice coach, and so on until I convinced everyone that I was the right choice for the role.”

From left to right: Andrew Dominik, Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson at Venice press conference

The actress got a standing ovation for her performance, which is considered to be the most important role of her career so far. Asked about the challenge of separating the public person – Marilyn, from the private one – Norma Jeane, Ana de Armas said that “it’s very difficult to explain, I was just connected to both of them emotionally at all times. We are talking about one and the same person, I wasn’t aware when I was making the transition from one to the other. It was just happening. I didn’t want to protect myself from the sadness and darkness that burdened her life, I knew I had to let myself open and be vulnerable, even though I was constantly stressed during the shooting. I really wanted to understand and empathize with her pain and her trauma. If you put aside the fame that surrounded her, she is just a woman, like me. And even though I knew it was a challenging role, it was an experience like no other.”

Photo from filming of Blonde

The film was in development since 2010, with Naomi Watts set to star as Monroe, but it suffered several delays in production due to financing. However, Andrew Dominik never gave up because, “some projects you never let go. For me, Blonde was one of them. I’ve been emotionally involved in the story since day one.”

Both Armas and Dominik stated that they constantly felt Marilyn’s presence on set. “She was all I thought about, she was all I dreamed about, she was all I could talk about. I truly believe that she was very close to us, she was with us [during production]. I guess it sounds mystical and weird, but we’ve all thought it. I hope we were able to honor her through this film,” said the actress. “The fact that we shot in the house where she grew up with her mother was incredible. Without realizing it, we started shooting on August 4, the anniversary of her death,” added the director.

Blonde is out on Netflix on September 28. The cast also includes Adrien Brody, Bobby Carnivale and Julianne Nicholson.


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(Română) De la copilăria volatilă a micuței Norma Jeane, la drumul spre celebritate și complicata viață amoroasă a lui Marilyn Monroe, Blonde explorează prăpastia din ce în ce mai adâncă dintre persoana publică și cea privată.

An article written by the magazine's team