People get a little obsessive about Marilyn Monroe. From praising her iconic performances to speculating on theories about her tragic death, there’s something about the star that will always keep her exalted. One of these obsessors is Andrew Dominik, who’s directing an upcoming adaptation of the bestselling Joyce Carol Oates novel Blonde, which explores the inner life of the actor, starring Ana de Armas.
Dominik finished a script based on the novel back in 2008, and the film has been in the works since 2010, with actors like Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts originally attached. “I just think about Blonde all the time,” Dominik recently told Collider. “I mean, there’s other sh*t that you can do and you just can’t be f*cked thinking about it. It’s boring. Or you think about it for a while, ‘wow, this is good,’ and then you get bored with it, but Blonde never did.”
Along with de Armas, the film stars Adrien Brody as the playwright and Monroe’s third husband Arthur Miller, and Bobby Cannavale as her second husband, Joe DiMaggio. Filming wrapped in July 2021, and a release at the 2022 Venice Film Festival is planned in September, as well as on Netflix.
Here’s everything else we know so far about the film.
It’s a feminist interpretation of Marilyn’s life
Joyce Carol Oates recently said on Twitter that she had seen a rough cut of the film and called it “startling, brilliant, very disturbing & [perhaps most surprisingly] an utterly ‘feminist’ interpretation... not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything this.)”
The film takes a hard look at Marilyn’s psychological underpinnings
Blonde takes a distinctly psychological approach to the life of Marilyn, and from what Dominik says, sounds like it’s very aligned with the toiling, necessary psychological work of “healing the inner child.”
“Well, the whole idea of Blonde was to detail a childhood drama and then show the way in which that drama splits the adults into a public and private self,” he told Collider. “And how the adult sees the world through the lens of that childhood drama, and it’s sort of a story of a person whose rational picture of the world as being overwhelmed by her unconscious, and it uses the iconography of Marilyn Monroe.”
Its director compares it to Citizen Kane and Raging Bull
“Blonde is a movie for all the unloved children of the world. It’s like Citizen Kane and Raging Bull had a baby daughter,” Dominik told Collider. (This man is a branding expert...) “It’s sort of like an unwanted child who becomes the most wanted woman in the world and has to deal with all of the desire that is directed at her, and how confusing that is. It’s kind of a nightmare. It’s about being in a car with no brakes. It’s just going faster and faster and faster.” The psychological underpinnings of a modern celebrity? We have lots of questions on this topic.
Theres been some controversy
Blonde is the first film produced by Netflix to receive an NC-17 rating, a rating the film reportedly received for a rape scene that was in the novel and for a scene that Screen Daily described as featuring “bloody menstrual oral sex.” “It’s a demanding movie,” Dominik told Screen Daily in March. “If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the f*cking audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office.”
Dominik stands by the films intensity, noting that if the film had come out during the heyday of #MeToo it would have reflected the movement. “We’re in a time now, I think, where people are really uncertain about where any lines are,” he said to Vulture. “It’s a film that definitely has a morality about it. But it swims in very ambiguous waters because I don’t think it will be as cut-and-dried as people want to see it. There’s something in it to offend everyone.”
It’s release date is still up in the air
Netflix has yet to announce a release date for Blonde, although the film is likely to show up on the fall festival circuit.
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