While audiences’ won’t be seeing Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic till 2022, author Joyce Carol Oates, whose novel “Blonde” is the basis for the film, apparently has. Oates took to Twitter on Sunday to praise director Dominik as well as star Ana de Armas.
Oates called the film “an exquisite portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Ana de Armas & director Andrew Dominic; one without the other could perhaps not have worked this magic. the tone of the film is hard to classify, not surreal but not totally realistic, not “horror” but suffused with the dread of horror.”
Rumors have swirled on social media with regards to how Dominik approached the feature, including unsubstantiated claims that the movie is heavily sexual and includes a significantly violent rape scene. Neither Dominik nor Netflix have responded to those claims, though based on Oates’ continual praise for the movie it seems evident he’s showing it to those with influence who can assert the movie is respectful to Monroe’s legacy.
The book itself is not a conventional biopic. It follows Monroe as she tells her story, from growing up as Norma Jean Baker, to becoming an international icon, and going through three very different marriages.
Oates isn’t the first voice to discuss the movie’s power. Back in June, Cannes general delegate Thierry Frémaux said that Netflix had turned down an out of competition slot for the feature. Frémaux said about the film, “Andrew Dominik’s film [‘Blonde’] could have been ready — it’s beautiful, I saw it.”
Dominik himself, the man behind elegiac dramas like “The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford,” has described the feature as “a really sprawling, emotional nightmare fairy-tale type movie.” De Armas stars opposite Julianne Nicholson, and Bobby Cannavale as a character based on Joe DiMaggio, Adrian Brody as a character inspired by playwright Arthur Miller. Xavier Samuel and Garret Dillahunt round out the cast.
The film has been a hot property in Hollywood for decades, with both Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain, fresh off her Monroe-esque role in “The Help,” attached for significant amounts of time before de Armas took up the role. Oates’ book, originally published in 1999, was adapted as a made-for-TV movie in 2001, airing on CBS. Poppy Montgomery played the Marilyn character, with Titus Welliver as DiMaggio, Griffin Dunne as Arthur Miller, and Ann-Margret.
Marilyn Monroe as a character has had her life adapted in numerous films and television movies over the decades with actresses like Michelle Williams, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, and Kelli Garner all donning the platinum tresses of the actress, who died of an overdose in 1962. Williams’ portrayal of Monroe in 2011’s “My Week With Marilyn” garnered her an Oscar nomination.
A release date for “Blonde” remains unknown.
an exquisite portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Ana de Armas & director Andrew Dominic; one without the other could perhaps not have worked this magic. the tone of the film is hard to classify, not surreal but not totally realistic, not "horror" but suffused with the dread of horror. https://t.co/1r3w0Ysw0A
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) September 5, 2021