«I studied everything to tell his human side»

“We worked on this film for many hours every day for almost a year,” the Cuban actress who plays the most famous diva in history said in an interview with Queue (Netflix’s paper magazine). Ana de Armas devoted herself wholeheartedly to Monroe’s life and career, reading Joyce Carol Oates’ novel (adapted to Andrew Dominik’s film) and devouring hundreds of videos, audio recordings, photographs and film clips

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Landed on Netflix since yesterday, acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival where it premiered this year, Blonde is already on everyone’s lips. Especially on that of Ana de Armas, the Cuban actress who plays Marilyn Monroe in the biopic directed by Andrew Dominik, an adaptation of the homonymous novel by Joyce Carol Oates.

The actress who has stepped into the role of the most famous diva in history is still very focused on that role, which she is often talking about. She recently she gave an interview to Queuethe Netflix paper magazine, in which she tells a lot of her backstage, understood precisely as “back-back-back stage”: she explained how she prepared for the part, before the start of the clapperboard.

“We worked on this film many hours every day for almost a year,” said de Armas. The study of him focused on an exceptional textbook, namely the novel Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (from which this biopic is based). She also dedicated herself to a Marilyn-themed full immersion, viewing hundreds of videos, films and photographs, as well as listening to countless audio recordings.

“I’ve read Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, home movies, everything I could get my hands on. All scenes in the film are inspired by existing images. We went over every little detail of each photograph and discussed what was happening when the photo was taken. The first question was always: “What was Norma Jeane feeling here?”. We wanted to tell the human side of her story. Notoriety is what made Marilyn the most visible person in the world, but it is also what made Norma Jeane the most invisible » she explains to Ana de Armas.

Not just a film role for de Armas but a real mission

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Blonde movie review

The actress after appearing in the last film of the James Bond epic with Daniel Craig in the role of agent 007 (i.e. No Time To Die) began a truly unstoppable climb to success. The most important test of him is undoubtedly this, a very difficult role for any person in the world.
For de Armas, however, this was not just a character to play on the set: at the basis of his work there is a real mission, the same that seems to be the philosophy that inspired the director of BlondeAndrew Dominik.

The director – known before now for directing The assassination of Jesse James at the hands of the coward Robert Ford And Cogan – Killing Them Softly, among others – from today it is the name inextricably linked to that of the title of the novel by Joyce Carol Oates: Blondeprecisely.

The film

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Blonde was previewed at the Venice Film Festival and has been available on Netflix since yesterday, September 28 (also visible on Sky Q and via the app on the Now Smart Stick). For the first time ever we are faced with a Netflix Original marked by a ban on viewing for children under 17.

Regarding the aforementioned ban, Andrew Dominik defined it as “a bunch of assholes”, adding that it is “a demanding film and if the viewers don’t like it, that’s only the viewers’ problem, because He’s not running for public office!”

After the harsh initial outburst, the director went on to explain in a more calm way that «the film is above all sincere, made with love and good intentions. At the same time he’s also full of anger, I often put myself in situations where people consider me a provocative director, but I swear that’s never my intention: I just try to say things as clearly as possible. My ambition is to make you fall in love with Marilyn.”

A detailed and faithful reconstruction of the most important moments in Marilyn-Norma’s life

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Blonde, Ana de Armas “asked permission” to Marilyn Monroe

Blonde recreates in a detailed and faithful way some of the most iconic moments of Marilyn Monroe’s life and career. One above all, the interpretation of Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend in the 1953 musical Men prefer blondes by Howard Hawks. The biopic sifts through every memorable moment in Marilyn’s story. There is no shortage of many dramatic stories of her life, complete with references to historical figures and sacred monsters of politics, culture and society that the diva has known during her very intense-albeit short-existence. The narrative trend follows that of the novel from which the film is based.

In the cast Adrien Brody is the Playwright (very clear reference to Arthur Miller) and Bobby Cannavale the Ex-Athlete (equally clear reference to Joe DiMaggio. Both Miller and DiMaggio were Marilyn’s husbands), while Julianne Nicholson plays Gladys Pearl Monroe (the mother of Norma Jeane) and Caspar Phillipson is The President, that is, clearly, JFK.

Ana de Armas’ efforts to bring Marilyn back to life

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Ana de Armas, the emotion after the standing ovation for Blonde

Ana de Armas worked tirelessly to bring a legend back to life on set. But she exhumed it to finally let us know the person who was hiding behind the myth, going beyond appearances, legends and facade.

During the 47 days of shooting, the Cuban actress got up very early, spending three hours on make-up and hair-styling. Ana de Armas only entered the set after this phase of real transformation, a metamorphosis that is almost incredible: looking at herself in the mirror, not even she can be recognized by how exactly she is a copy of Marilyn! She could deceive her mother, indeed: even herself, in fact.

And once she arrived on set, the scenes she had to play were very difficult, emotionally, psychically and physically exhausting. Last but not least, her effort to hide her innate Cuban accent was incredible.
“I was very lucky to have Ana because she can do anything,” Dominik admitted. «She was very good. She captured Marilyn’s essence in an instant, demonstrating skin-deep sensitivity and understanding all my requests. Thanks to Ana’s presence, every scene came to life».

Finally the story of Marilyn Monroe told by Norma Jeane Baker

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Blonde, released the trailer in Italian of the film

Blonde is the first account of the life and career of model, actress and singer Marylin Monroe done in an unprecedented way by Norma Jeane Baker.

Who is wondering who she is (this Norma Jeane Baker) know that this is the name of the most famous woman in the world: Marilyn. Yet few know him: we are talking about a diva who was totally overwhelmed by appearances, stuck in the deadly gears of stardom, which was the infernal machine under which her true essence, her identity, was crushed. Blonde wants to finally introduce her to the world too: that Norma Jeane Baker suffocated by America’s most iconic blonde doll, one that can even beat Barbie.

The abused daughter of a single mother, Norma usually had only a name. Yet even that one foothold on a normal life was uprooted from her identity, changing her name to Marilyn Monroe.
«Andrew’s ambitions were clear from the start: he wanted to present his version of Marilyn Monroe’s life – he tells Queue Ana de Armas – from the point of view of the protagonist. She wanted the world to experience what it really means to be not only Marilyn, but Norma Jeane. I found it to be the boldest, most unapologetic, feminist way to approach her story that I’ve ever seen.”

An archaeological work that delves deeply into the psyche and soul of an icon

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Blonde, the trailer for the film about Marilyn Monroe with Ana De Armas

The basis from which it starts Blonde is the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. Both the American writer and the director are animated by the same goal: to try to imagine what happened behind the scenes in Marilyn’s life.

Trying to reconstruct what happened when the lights went out, and the cameras too. When the public left, when she was left alone with herself, what was left of Marilyn?
The strength of Blonde it is the fact that it is based on an archaeological work that seeks to delve deeply into the psyche and soul of an icon, to restore the dignity of a human being to a person who until now has been considered a brand, a product of culture pop, like a bottle of Coca-Cola or a drum of Brillo detergent (it is no coincidence that we have chosen two products interpreted precisely by pop art, and by Andy Warhol in the first place. Which, in addition to the two aforementioned products, are children of the commodification of also portrayed Marilyn herself, in the same way).

Andrew Dominik: «She was a deeply traumatized woman»

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Andrew Dominik: Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde ‘will offend everyone’

“She was a deeply traumatized woman,” explains the director. “And that kind of trauma demands a rift between a public identity and a private identity. It’s a reality that applies to anyone, but when it comes to a famous person, that rift often plays out publicly in ways that lead to further trauma. The film focuses a lot on Norma’s relationship with herself and with this other person, Marilyn, who is both her armor and the thing that threatens to consume her,” adds Andrew Dominik.

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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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