The other day we got to speak to Andrew Dominik, whose genuinely amazing new crime film “Killing Them Softly” opens next week. One thing we wanted to make sure of was, after the seemingly epic gulf of time between his brilliant but criminally under-seen “The Assassination of Jesse James and the Coward Robert Ford” and “Killing Them Softly,” that there was at least something in the works. It turns out that the movie he was originally going to do before “Killing Them Softly” is still very much a go. “I’m going to do this movie called ‘Blonde,’ which is about Marilyn Monroe,” Dominik said.
As to the scope of “Blonde,” don’t expect a “Lincoln”-like sliver of the troubled star’s life. “It’s about her whole life,” Dominik said, definitively. “It starts when she’s seven and it ends when she dies.” Dominik acknowledged that it will be based on the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominated novel by Joyce Carol Oates, then clarified his approach to the material. “It’s sort of a Polanski descent-into-madness-type movie,” Dominik explained. “It’s about this orphan girl who gets lost in the woods.”
Those comments echo his earlier description of the movie as an “emotional nightmare fairy tale,” and Dominik sounds genuinely excited about the project. “I love it,” he said. “It’s my dream project and I’ve been working on it for years and years and years.” Given his ability to make real-world characters into genuinely mythological figures, as he did in both ‘Jesse James’ and his first film, the hard-nosed Australian drama “Chopper” (that made a star out of some guy named Eric Bana), it seems like the perfect subject matter for the filmmaker.
When we asked Dominik if he was going to push, visually, into the realm of what-is-reality-what-is-fantasy, Dominik said yes. “It’s very pseudo-Freudian,” he said. “The lines between fantasy and reality become very blurred in the story.” About when the film will actually shoot, Dominik optimistically says, “I’d like to do it next year.” He says he hasn’t hired a cinematographer yet, but that Naomi Watts — who was attached early on, but over the summer seemed like she might have to bow out — is still on board, although, as he said, “Anything can happen.”
We wondered though, if he has another project ready to go, should “Blonde” face another delay (which is how “Killing Them Softly” got bumped up in the pipeline). Dominik says no. “It’s pretty much all about Marilyn at the moment,” he said.
“Killing Them Softly” opens on November 30th. You can read our review right here.