Ana De Armas Asked Marilyn Monroe’s Grave A Question
Ana de Armas visited Marilyn Monroe's grave before the filming of Blonde, to ask the late icon's blessing.
Reviews for Ana de Armas’s new Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde suggest that the director is committed to providing an authentic and honest depiction of the famous actress/singer. A trailer for the upcoming NC-17 biopic was revealed to audiences in the summer, showcasing the film’s noir style and Armas’ portrayal of Marilyn. During an interview with AnOther magazine, Armas revealed she visited Norman Jean Baker’s (the person behind Marilyn Monroe) grave and asked for the late actress’s blessing.
“We got this big card and everyone in the crew wrote a message to her. Then we went to the cemetery and put it on her grave. We were asking for permission in a way. Everyone felt a huge responsibility, and we were very aware of the side of the story we were going to tell—the story of Norma Jeane, the person behind this character, Marilyn Monroe. Who was she really?”
Even still photos from the project elicited a sense of dread and glamor, something that permeated the life of Norma Jean. The images captured the movie’s beauty and horror, illustrated by Ana de Armas’ performance. During a Venice Film Festival press junket, Armas said that she felt Norma Jean was “very close” to her and the project’s creators during production.
Of course, cinephiles are debating the film’s NC-17 rating online. Ana de Armas admitted she was at first confused by the film’s rating, saying that she didn’t quite understand why the film received it while other films that are more explicit with sexual content could get a lesser rating. The actress explained the importance of giving an honest portrayal of the life of Norma Jean.
But while the intentions of the filmmakers and Ana de Armas may be genuine, that doesn’t mean the project itself is devoid of controversy. Some have criticized Armas’ accent in the trailer, claiming that it takes them out of what’s happening onscreen. The Marilyn estate issued a statement regarding the actress’s portrayal and defended her accent, saying “she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity, and vulnerability.”
Still, many fans have attacked Ana De Armas’ performance online. The Cuban-born actress is known for letting her accent shine through in her performances. However, she appears to have altered her voice for the biopic.
The Marilyn Monroe biopic is perhaps Ana De Armas’ most challenging role thus far in her career. The actress previously starred in director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 as a hologram named Joi. She also received much attention for her appearance in the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die.
Blonde is a fictionalized take on the life and career of famous actress/singer Marilyn Monroe. Along with Ana De Armas, the film also stars Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, and Xavier Samuels. A majority of the film is presented in black and white and shifts in aspect ratios.
Joyce Carol Oates, who wrote the novel from which the film takes inspiration, recently praised the Ana de Armas-led biopic. She called the director of the biopic, Andrew Dominik, a “brilliant director” and said he “succeeded in showing the experience of Norma Jeane Baker from her perspective, rather than see it from the outside, the male gaze looking at a woman.” While Oates’s comments might not calm those who have trouble getting past Armas’ accent, they may give fans of Norma Jeane a reason to check out Andrew Dominik’s depiction of her.
So far, critics of the film have praised Ana de Armas’ performance and the film’s visual style. However, many also have criticized the screenplay.