Fresh off a Golden Globe nomination for her acclaimed performance in Rian Johnson’s murder mystery “Knives Out” (a worldwide box office hit with over $300 million), Ana de Armas is gearing up for her biggest year yet with high profile roles in the upcoming James Bond tentpole “No Time to Die” and Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde.” The latter is the first narrative feature in eight years from “The Assassination of Jesse James” and “Killing Them Softly” director Dominik, who handpicked de Armas to be his leading lady. “Blonde” is based on Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel that takes a fictionalized look at the inner life of Marilyn Monroe. Becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest icons is no easy task for de Armas, but she tells Vanity Fair that the chance for a Cuban actress to play an American icon was too history-making to pass on.
“I only had to audition for Marilyn once and Andrew said ‘It’s you,’ but I had to audition for everyone else,” de Armas told the magazine. “The producers. The money people. I always have people I needed to convince. But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so badly. You see that famous photo of her and she is smiling in the moment, but that’s just a slice of what she was really going through at the time.”
De Armas says she has never worked closer with a director than she did with Dominik during the making of “Blonde,” which has the backing of Netflix and is expected to debut at one of the major 2020 film festivals. “Yes, I have had collaborative relationships [with directors],” de Armas said, “but to get phone calls at midnight because he has an idea and he can’t sleep and [then] all of a sudden you can’t sleep for the same reason.”
Jamie Lee Curtis starred opposite de Armas in “Knives Out” and was one of a few people who got to see de Armas’ early screen tests as Marilyn Monroe. Curtis’ father, Tony Curtis, famously starred opposite Monroe in the classic comedy “Some Like It Hot.” Curtis reacted to de Armas’ screen tests by telling Vanity Fair, “I dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe it. Ana was completely gone. She was Marilyn.”
Netflix has yet to announce a release date for “Blonde.” De Armas can next be seen as the CIA agent Paloma in the James Bond movie “No Time to Die,” in theaters nationwide April 8.