The Daily Beast and the official website have some new photos of Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe (and some better quality versions of a few that have appeared previously) along with excerpts from an interview Williams gave in support of “My Week With Marilyn,” which opens on November 23rd in limited release. The Weinstein Company has an overstuffed slate of releases following ‘Marilyn,’ including “The Artist” on November 25th, and “Coriolanus” and “The Iron Lady” on December 2nd and 16th, respectively. It certainly would have been smart to give “I Don’t Know How She Does It” or “Dirty Girl” the “Piranha 3DD” treatment, dumping either film in 2012 and freeing up an early fall slot for one of these Oscar contenders. What’s done is done, though, and this time of year, it’s always interesting to guess which film the Weinsteins will treat like Kate Winslet’s character in “Contagion,” using up its resources before abandoning it in the shallow grave of a perpetual limited release. Last year, the Weinstein Company left “The Company Men” to wither away in a “wide release” of 277 theatres (though, in their defense, the studio was generous enough to give the film a mind-numbingly dull/confusing poster) and this writer would put his money on “Coriolanus” getting similar treatment this holiday season. There are only so many marketing dollars to go around.
One area where the Weinstein Company will not be cheap is in the campaign for Michelle Williams’ third Academy Award nomination. The studio got her a nod for last year’s “Blue Valentine,” and it’s only a matter of time before Williams wins one of these things. As Gwenyth Paltrow proved, the Weinsteins know how to take a young actress from obscurity to Oscar gold and beyond (see box office receipts of “Bounce,” “View From the Top,” or “Sylvia” for examples). We were not impressed by “My Week With Marilyn,” but many critics enjoyed Williams’ performance even if they didn’t like the film, and that’s probably good enough to get her a nomination.
During the awards season, it can be eye-roll inducing to read about Natalie Portman’s four decades spent preparing for her role in “Black Swan” or Christian Bale filing Dicky Eklund’s 2009 tax returns so that he could understand the character’s fiscal mindset (we’re kidding…we hope). It’s a relief that Williams actually had some interesting things to say about her experience on set, explaining that she “put all [Monroe’s] films on the iPad and in between setups and in between shots, I would put my headphones on and I would watch her or I would listen to her. I had photo books laid out all over the table in my dressing room. I was trying to drink her, or something.”
Describing the level to which she sympathizes with Monroe, Williams said, “The energy it takes to put your face on, put your body on, put your game on, and transmit that energy to the world, and to be what everybody wants you to be—to give joy, to give pleasure, to give your body, to always be putting out and not getting back—is exhausting in a way I can’t describe.”
It all sounds pretty intense. Perhaps if the “Marilyn” script and direction were stronger, more of this fascinating work Michelle Williams did would have come across on screen. Photos of Williams being Marilyn Monroe/exhausted are below.