‘Blonde’ star Ana de Armas on getting to know Marilyn Monroe

‘Blonde’ star Ana de Armas on getting to know Marilyn Monroe

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When Cuban-Spanish actor Ana de Armas was asked to play Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s Netflix film “Blonde,” she spent months preparing and studying for the role. “It was very important to discover the real woman and bring all those elements together,” she said at the San Sebastian Film Festival on Saturday.

“My idea of ​​Marilyn in the past was pretty elementary,” she said at a news conference. “I knew her movies and little more. It was fascinating for me to get to know her story. She represented the dream we all want to be. So what could go so wrong? I now have a lot more respect for her and a better understanding of her and could humanize her a lot more, and give her more appreciation for the effort she put into things.”

Produced by Plan B and distributed by Netflix, the film is based on Joyce Carol Oates’ bestseller, which re-imagines Monroe’s life. The film explores the gap between her public and private self.

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Dominik said, “The idea is to give you her life experience.”

It is also about putting a new spin on the collective memory, which he did by creating different associations with iconic images.

“The advantage of doing that with someone who’s been photographed like that is that you have so many images that have meaning that you can now give them new meaning,” he said. “But this is probably some people’s objection to the movie, because we’re messing with people’s memories.”

De Armas added: “In all the recreations, what we did, from Andrew’s point of view, was to show the other side of what she saw. We know the footage, but we don’t have that context of her point of view from that moment.”

The director was asked about the place of ‘lust’ in the film. “For me personally, there is no lust in making the film,” said Dominik. “It’s a remarkably unsexual film. It uses nudity to express anger, for example.”

As for the dual aspects of Monroe’s life as a sex symbol and the traumatized life she led, he added: “I think it’s pretty hard to talk about trauma without talking about sexuality, but it’s connected. She seems to be numb to hers.”

Metoo helped make the film.

“Metoo was helpful in getting ‘Blonde’ funded because before that it felt like a woman’s perspective on the woman’s meat grinder in Hollywood wasn’t interesting, and it turned that around,” Dominik said.

The role was a huge opportunity for De Armas, she said. She worked in Spain for several years, but had not been offered any major roles there. However, she does not hold a grudge. “I would like to work here again. I didn’t get those opportunities [in Spain]. In Spain, I don’t think people don’t take me seriously as an actress, but I spent several years on TV [‘El Internado’] in a school uniform. When I went to Panama to shoot a movie, it was the first time I thought of the US,” she said.

The film will run on the big screen in certain areas for a limited time, but Dominik doesn’t mind the small screen.

“Netflix were the only people willing to pay for the film,” he said. “It will be on screen for two weeks for the die-hards in the US and UK. I made my peace with this a long time ago. A movie is a movie, and it should work on any screen, and most movies are seen that way anyway.”

Andrew Dominik and Ana de Armas

Credit: Ulises Proust

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