Ana de Armas, as a blonde

A shot by Ana de Armas (Instagram @ana_d_armas)

That a Cuban actress has been chosen to interpret the Yankee and very blonde icon par excellence on the big screen, Marilyn Monroe, speaks volumes not only about that drift aimed at inclusiveness towards which Hollywood finally seems to have turned, but also and above all about the enormous artistic potential of the girl in question. Simply put, that great talent, regardless of hair color or Latino accent, that she brought Ana de Armas to make his way in the world film scene without elbowing, but simply convincing everyone with his skill. The fact that she is beautiful, then, does not clash, but reducing the success that this very young girl has achieved in a few years to an aesthetic question is extremely misleading and untrue. Because sacrifices, determination, a certain amount of courage and a great deal of initiative have made Ana de Armas continually challenge herself with complex and nuanced roles that have shown what she is made of. Just like some Norm Jean Baker.

A shot by Ana de Armas (Instagram @ana_d_armas)

And Ana De Armas, born in 1988, born and raised in Havana, Cuba, has come a long way in that climate of hardship between rationed food and continuous blackouts which did not prevent her, however, from enjoying a happy childhood. Thanks to the parents, no doubt. Two educated and always ready to support her who, net of their possibilities, encouraged her already existing determination of the child. That, despite the censorship and the purely Cuban-centric culture that prevailed on the island, she was captured by the images that scrolled on the small television screen and she fed on the great Hollywood films whose dialogues she memorized in front of the mirror. So much so that, just thirteen, Ana convinced her parents to let her attend the acting school of National Theater of Cuba in Havana where she literally threw herself into that fascinating world full of expectations that had opened up in front of her. Aspiring musicians, circus performers, various artists and of course actors made up that variegated fauna in which Ana fit perfectly, experiencing a hitherto unknown freedom and getting drunk on the possibilities that her life was putting before her eyes. And even then her talent did not go unnoticed, so much so that she was hired to take part in three local film productions and, determined to exploit the favor of the stars, at the age of only 18, taking advantage of the dual Spanish citizenship that came from her maternal grandmother, embarked for Madrid.

An image of Ana de Armas (Instagram @ana_d_armas)

She had never crossed the borders of Cuba, but even in this case the support of her parents was fundamental in pushing Ana to follow her dreams with the certainty that, whatever happened, she would still have a loving safe conduct. Needless to say, the reassurances remained on paper because, once in Spain, in 2007, the girl was intercepted to play a handful of roles in local productions before being chosen for the role that definitively launched her career, namely there Caroline of the teen drama The internado in which she starred for six seasons, until 2010, and which made her extremely popular in Spain. Despite her success achieved by her and a lightning marriage with the colleague Marc Clotet, Ana de Armas kept looking far enough to decide to attempt the big leap by flying directly to Los Angeles, fresh from divorce and with a decidedly limited English vocabulary. Starting over from scratch was not a problem for the girl who, in four months, learned the language and was chosen for the part of Felicidad Inglesiasthe wife of the famous Panamanian boxer Robert Duranin the biopic Hands of stone in which he also acted Robert de Niro. The charisma shown in the film was for Ana de Armas her pass for the films that, in a short time, made her known to the general public. Starting with the thriller Knock knock (2015) with Keanu Reeves passing through the mystery of Rian Johnson Dinner with murder – Kinves out for which she was nominated for Golden globe as best actress in 2019. In between there was time to give body and face to the Bond girl Paloma with his deadly baggage of karate moves in No time to die alongside Daniel Craig. She was also chosen by Denis Villeneuve for the sequel to Blade runner alongside Ryan Gosling and found a way to fall in love with Ben Affleck shooting erotic thriller Deep water.

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe (Instagram @ana_d_armas)

It goes without saying how the new Hollywood couple sparked and was placed at the center of media attention precisely in conjunction with the explosion of the pandemic, which, together with the forced isolation and the illness of the isolated father in Cuba, clarified the ideas of all actress about what she wanted out of life, but above all about what she didn’t want. She built her own escape route leaving the Los Angeles jungle for the quieter New York, saying goodbye forever to her bulky boyfriend and preparing for what, in all respects, turned out to be the biggest gamble of her career until that moment, namely to play Marilyn Monroe in the biopic that the director Andrew Dominik was preparing from the adaptation of the famous novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde. The director had already been trying to give shape to a project for about ten years for which he was struggling to find the right protagonist. Neither Jessica Chastain nor much less Naomi Watts they had in fact passed that audition with which a very blonde Ana De Armas convinced both Dominik and the producer of the film, a certain Brad Pitt, that she was perfect for the part. Also because, when she appeared on the screen, only she existed, exactly as she happened with Marilyn. Not that it was easy for the actress to step into the skimpy shoes of an immortal legend. Not only for the exhausting hours of hair and make-up she had undergone in over two months of filming, but above all for the psychological implication that her interpretation of her had entailed. The film, just like the novel, focused more on the traumas of the existence of Norma Jean Baker, Marilyn Monroe’s real name, than on the world diva. Abused daughter of a single mother, Blonde tells the human side of the Hollywood star, with his baggage of loneliness and vulnerability almost unknown to most.

A shot by Ana de Armas (Instagram @ana_d_armas)

Deprived of family footholds, wedged by the mechanisms of stardom and appearance, capable of masking sadness and disappointment under sequins and glossy smiles, Norma Jean’s story is that of a fragile and heartbroken woman who, in the end, is been engulfed by her role as an icon without anyone having ever had the courage to save her and take care of her. A standing ovation at the end Venice Film Festival in September welcomed the film presented by Ana De Armas dressed in a designer pleated dress Louis Vuitton (see MFF of September 9) which, not even too subtly, evoked the same as When the wife is on vacationand strong in an interpretation that, for many, is already in the odor of Oscars. But there is time for this. What to see shortly the actress in Ghostedthe registered production AppleTv+ in which he recites next to Adrien Brody it’s at Chris Evans and of which she is also a producer, and to recover her interpretation, again alongside Ryan Goslingin the action movie The gray man present on the platform Netflix. Meanwhile, from New York where she lives with her boyfriend and two dogs, Ana de Armas is preparing to meet Keanu Reeves again on the set of Dancerthe spin-off of the saga of John Wick, remaining once more faithful to its goal, that is to always improve, never stop learning, face new challenges. Always coming out with my head held high. (All rights reserved)

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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