Joyce Carol Oates Praises Andrew Dominik’s ‘Blonde’ Rough Cut: ‘Brilliant, Very Disturbing’

The Netflix drama, starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, is based on Oates' 2000 novel of the same name.
This Nov. 16, 2019 photo shows actress Ana de Armas posing for a portrait to promote her film "Knives Out" at The Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP)
Ana de Armas stars as Marilyn Monroe in "Blonde"
Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP

Netflix’s list of upcoming films includes highly anticipated collaborations with Charlie Kaufman (“I’m Thinking of Ending Things”) and David Fincher (“Mank”), and near the top of this list is the return of writer-director Andrew Dominik. The filmmaker behind “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “Killing Them Softly” is back after nearly a decade hiatus with “Blonde,” an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel of the same name that takes a fictionalized look at the inner life of Marilyn Monroe. The author revealed on Twitter she has seen Dominik’s first cut of “Blonde,” and she has nothing but praise to share about it.

“I have seen the rough cut of Andrew Dominick’s [sic] adaptation and it is startling, brilliant, very disturbing and perhaps most surprisingly an utterly ‘feminist’ interpretation,” Oates wrote. “Not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything [like] this.”

Ana de Armas, who scored a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year for “Knives Out” and next stars opposite Daniel Craig in the James Bond tentpole “No Time to Die,” is starring in “Blonde” as Marilyn Monroe. The actress told Vanity Fair in February that it was a daunting decision to agree to take on one of Hollywood’s biggest icons, but she couldn’t pass on the opportunity of a Cuban actress playing an American icon.

“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.”

A source close to Netflix confirmed to IndieWire earlier this year the streamer is saving “Blonde” for its 2021 slate. No official release date has been announced.

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