Andrew Dominik’s Blonde is a reimagining of the true story of Marilyn Monroe’s (Ana de Armas) rise to fame in Hollywood during the 1950s and ’60s. Throughout the film, Dominik explores the split between the late Hollywood legend’s public and private lives.
The movie touches on various aspects of the icon’s life, including her childhood as Norma Jeane Baker and her rise to stardom after adopting the stage name of “Marilyn Monroe.” In the midst of climbing her way to the top of Hollywood, Blonde also shows Monroe’s struggles with her love life, exploitation, abuse of power and drug addiction.
The debut trailer for Blonde shows de Armas’ Monroe struggling to continue the façade of the Hollywood starlet she created. “I’ve played Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe,” de Armas is heard saying over the montage that shows her character struggling with the effects of her public image. “I can’t face doing another scene with Marilyn Monroe.”
As the trailer continues, de Armas insists that she is not the Hollywood starlet and is instead Norma Jeane. “Marilyn doesn’t exist,” de Armas insists. “When I come out of my dressing room, I’m Norma Jeane. I’m still here when the camera is rolling. Marilyn Monroe only exists on the screen.”
In addition to directing, Dominik also wrote the film’s screenplay based on Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 biographical fiction novel of the same name..
Many of the characters in the film are based on real people, which gave the cast plenty of inspiration for crafting the project.
De Armas leads the cast that’s also made up of Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, Julianne Nicholson, Caspar Phillipson, Toby Huss, David Warshofsky, Evan Williams and Michael Masini.
Blonde was produced by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Tracey Landon and Scott Robertson.
The film, which is rated NC-17, is expected to show Monroe’s life in an intimate and vulnerable way. “I think if I’m given the choice, I’d rather go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story. Because we know that her life was on the edge, clearly, from the way it ended,” Doiminik told Vulture about the movie’s rating.
The biographical drama premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 8 — earning a 14-minute standing ovation — before it becomes available to stream on Netflix on Sept. 28. (Read The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the film here.)
Read on to find out who is playing whom in the film and how the cast prepared to play their real-life counterparts.