the faces for the diva who didn’t exist

Ana De Armas is Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

Ana De Armas is Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

“I found out that Marilyn Monroe didn’t exist”. So Michelle Williams, nominated for an Oscar for her splendid interpretation of the diva in Marilyn (2011), he told in several interviews, “It was a part that Norma Jeane played“, he wanted to specify. Putting yourself in the shoes of a woman who does not exist must not be an easy task. And in fact very few actresses have tried it in their careers, between cinema and TV. Sixty years after the death of the immortal icon, we are in waiting for Blondein competition at the next Venice Film Festival and from 28 September on Netflix, where it will be Ana De Armas to embody the myth again. Much deeper and more unfathomable myth than the iconic one Material Girl that Madonna she enjoyed impersonating in the eighties. But to what extent? Let’s go through a selection of the performances that have most tried to scratch the mysterious Monroe prism, through the faces of the actresses who accepted the challenge of bringing them back to life on stage. Like that time when Uma Thurman with the baby bump …

Mira Sorvino, the Goddess of Love inside Marilyn

That Marilyn Monroe’s personality was split between her own identity and the role she had chosen to play in the spotlight has always been clear. This is also testified by a 1996 film that perhaps not many will remember, despite the cast of great prestige. Norma Jean & Marilyn was a British production designed for TV. At the center of the project, the split between the woman, played by Ashley Judd and her own antithesis, that is the diva Monroe to whom a young girl lends her face Mira Sorvino. The conflict is so clear that here we see two distinct interpreters fighting to represent the totality of only one. Sorvino was fresh from Golden Globe And Oscarshotgun very difficult to grab, like Best Actress thanks to the starring role in The Goddess of Love, among Woody Allen’s masterpieces. And the “Goddess of Love” was certainly a fundamental aspect of being Marilyn. But not enough. The film, as a whole, tries to fathom a surface that never really wanted to be known, imagining Monroe as a perennial and battered battlefield, both psychological and physical. As diamonds rained on past traumas and present demons, Mira Sorvino was a divine Marilyn. Once again a Goddess, of course, but of darkness more than of Love.

Michelle Williams, seven days almost from an Oscar

Jane of Dawson’s Creek. We have all known Michelle Williams as the rebel of the group of teenagers who grew up under the window of the protagonist in the cult TV series of the 2000s. For all the performers of the cast it was almost impossible to clear the branding that the success of the teen series had implicitly imprinted on their foreheads. For everyone, except for Williams. In 2011 we find it in Marilyn: interpretation that earned her an Oscar nomination. The storyline is interesting: the plot focuses on seven days of the diva’s life, taking us to England in the summer of 1956.

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At the time, the most desired woman in the world was 30, she just got married to the famous American playwright Arthur Miller and made the decision to get serious about cinema: it is pure ambition. She wants to be considered a “serious” actress, not just a symbol of sensuality at the mercy of the public. In the meantime, he is afraid. An irrational fear, perhaps, given that she is on the verge of realizing her dream: the prestigious theater actor Laurence Olivier has in fact just hired her for the film The Prince and the Dancer, a brilliant comedy, at least in intention. Before filming begins, Marilyn allows herself a week of relaxation but is worn out by performance anxiety.

With her, while the new husband returns to the States, the very young graduate of Oxford Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) who takes care of it (too much) lovingly. Marilyn it is the photograph of a window on the life of the diva who did not exist: very fragile and sensual, struggling with demons even greater than her innate charm. She already somehow defeated in the soul, in those seven days she still did not know that the “big movie” in which she was preparing to act “seriously” would be a fiasco. The criticism went heavy epitaphs it as “a goofy comedy that would like to appear credible and modern without succeeding. Ambition, neurosis, long baths, failure.

Uma Thurman, Marilyn’s best music

2012. We are on Broadway where preparations for a pharaonic are stirring musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. Here brings us the NBC Smash series, directly from an idea by Steven Spielberg. The cast is exceptional, in addition to Katherine McPhee and Meghan Hilty we find one guest star exceptional: in the second of the two available seasons, to give voice, face and body to the blonde par excellence, think (also) Uma Thurman. A curious choice, considering the sharp features of the protagonist of Kill Bill. One of those operations that take little time to transform from a visionary flicker to a colossal flop. The timing, then, certainly does not help. The actress, pregnant at the time, ends up preparing the original song Dig Deep and your own version of Happy Birthday Mr. President in two days. The result? Three 2012 Emmy nominations in the categories of Best Music Composition, Best Music and Lyrics and Best Guest Star. The impression of a curiously masculine Marilyn – the black scene suit was used to hide the baby bump – but at the same time recognizable from the first glance.

Sequins, sequins, dance bodies, Thurman enters the scene and overwhelms with his exorbitant charisma. If Michelle Williams showed her crying and afflicted in the bathtub, here she is reliving splendidly in the natural habitat of her character that the diva who did not exist had so brilliantly invented: the stage. Another very important face of the Monroe prism: that of the blockbuster.

Blonde, Ana De Armas is already divisive (like Marilyn)

The trailer for Blonde, a biopic, based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates, has already raised the first perplexities on the part of international critics. Although no one, to date, has seen the film yet, the film is already divisive. As well as the most awaited of the year. Surprisingly similar in features, De Armas is challenged by the Spanish inflection which in fact has little to do with the original character. Always assuming that a coherence to the same is possible, considering the mystery that Marilyn Monroe still represents today. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt defends the actress from criticism of her, calling her “phenomenal”. Of course, visually they are two drops of water and the original book brings back a rich psychological insight from Norma Jeane. As well as a series of (imaginative?) Reconstructions on her, which has always been a much talked about relationship with the Kennedys. Director Andrew Dominik assures: Blonde will offend everyone“. Could it be that impertinence was missing in the portraits of Marilyn seen so far? Meanwhile, the Monroe enigma still remains fascinating and divisivewaiting for a solution that can only be, as Armas well says: “not literal, not chronological: not just a biopic, but an experience to live”.

I’m writing. Perpetually waiting for the raising of issues to be recognized as an Olympic discipline.

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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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