Blonde, Ana de Armas and Marilyn: “I studied everything to tell his human side”

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Arrived on Netflix yesterday, acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival which 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 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates.

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

“We worked on this film for many hours every day for almost a year,” said de Armas. His study 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 read Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, films, everything I could get my hands on. All scenes in the film are inspired by existing images. We went through 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

The actress after appearing in the latest 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 be interpreted 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 for directing The murder 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

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

Regarding the aforementioned prohibition, Andrew Dominik defined it as “a bunch of bitches”, adding that it is “a demanding film and if the viewers don’t like it, that’s just a problem for the viewers, because he is not applying for public office! ».

After the initial hard outburst, the director moved 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 is also full of anger, I often throw myself into situations where people consider me a provocative director, but I swear this is 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 the life of Marilyn-Norma

Blonde recreates in detail and faithfully some of the most iconic moments in the life and career of Marilyn Monroe. 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 are many dramatic stories about her from her life, with lots of references to historical characters 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’s commitment to bring Marilyn back to life

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

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

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

Finally the story of Marylin Monroe told by Norma Jeane Baker

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

Who is wondering who this 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 appearance, wedged in the deadly gears of stardom, which was the infernal machine under which the true essence, her identity, remained crushed. Blonde he wants to finally introduce her to the world too: that Norma Jeane Baker suffocated by America’s most iconic blonde doll, one who can beat even Barbie.

The abused daughter of a single mother, Norma normally had only her name. Yet even that one clue to a normal life has been eradicated from her identity by changing her name to Marilyn Monroe.
“Andrew’s ambitions were clear from the start: he wanted to present his version of the life of Marilyn Monroe – he tells Queue Ana de Armas – from the point of view of the protagonist. She wanted the world to feel what it really means to be not only Marilyn, but also Norma Jeane. I found it to be the most daring, unrepentant and feminist way to approach her story never seen before. “

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

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

Trying to reconstruct what happened when the lights went out, and the cameras too. When the audience left, when she was left alone with herself, what was left of Marilyn?
The strength of Blonde is the fact that it is based on an archaeological work that wants to dig deep 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. he also portrayed Marilyn herself, in the same way).

Andrew Dominik: “She was a deeply traumatized woman”

“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 manifests itself publicly in ways that generate 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 she threatens to consume her, ”adds Andrew Dominik.