Director Andrew Dominik’s fictionalized Marilyn Monroe biopic “Blonde” already made history as the first NC-17 Netflix original movie, despite Dominik being “surprised” by the rating.
“I thought we’d colored inside the lines. But I think if you’ve got a bunch of men and women in a boardroom talking about sexual behavior, maybe the men are going to be worried about what the women think,” Dominik said to Vulture. “It’s just a weird time. It’s not like depictions of happy sexuality. It’s depictions of situations that are ambiguous.”
Ana de Armas stars as Norma Jeane in the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel of the same name. Norma’s rise to stardom is a re-imagining of Monroe’s life, and Dominik noted the film hinges on “childhood drama” framed by the war between a private and public self in the world of celebrity.
“On a simplest level, it’s about an unwanted child who becomes the most wanted person in the world and can’t deal with all of that desire coming at them,” Dominik said.
As for the rating, the “Killing Them Softly” director continued, “It’s dangerous to do other people’s thinking for them. Who knows? On the one hand, I think if I’m given the choice, I’d rather go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story. Because we know that her life was on the edge, clearly, from the way it ended. Do you want to see the warts-and-all version or do you want to see that sanitized version?”
“Blonde” was originally set to debut at 2021 Cannes, but Netflix balked at the premiere due to additional edits. The streamer passed on 2022 Cannes and Dominik said he was eying the Venice International Film Festival.
“Netflix is a big business with much bigger fish to fry than ‘Blonde,’ in terms of where they spend their money,” Dominik said. “They’re paying $400 million for movies. A little $22 million movie, it’s not going to break the bank for Netflix. They just want to get their sort of marketing plan in order, I think, before they start rolling it out. Then we’ve got to work out how they want it to enter the world…By the time Blonde comes out, everyone’s going to be sick of talking about it.”
Dominik, who has described “Blonde” as if “‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘Raging Bull’ had a baby daughter,” previously revealed that the film probably wouldn’t have been made without the #MeToo movement “because nobody was interested in that sort of shit, what it’s like to be an unloved girl, or what it’s like to go through the Hollywood meat-grinder.”
To Vulture, the writer-director called 2022 an “interesting time” for “Blonde” to be released. (While no premiere date has been set, Dominik let it slip that the film will most likely come out in September).
“If it had come out a few years ago, it would have come out right when #MeToo hit and it would have been an expression of all that stuff. We’re in a time now, I think, where people are really uncertain about where any lines are,” Dominik described. “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.”
For all the details on “Blonde,” head here.
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