Ana de Armas wants people to get to know Norma Jeane Mortenson on a new level.
The Cuban actor completely transformed into Marilyn Monroe for “Blonde,” bringing a new level of vulnerability to the Hollywood icon in the Andrew Dominik-directed film. De Armas told TODAY at the Los Angeles premiere held at the TCL Chinese Theater on September 13 that she bonded with the woman in the story and was moved by the tragedies of life. stars.
“It was hard for me not to understand the story of what was happening to him and the woman in the story,” de Armas said on the red carpet. “It was hard not to identify with that and to be heartbroken and emotional. »
“The more I learned about her, and when I say her, I mean Norma because I had this idea of (Marilyn)…I knew what we all know about Marilyn Monroe, the character,” he said. she continued. “I just wanted to peel back all the layers and find out who was underneath and what she went through. It was so easy for me to see her trauma and her pain and understand what she was going through. So I guess I really connected with them.
The film spans 14 years, with the director and cast pointing out that the drama is a fictionalized version of Monroe’s life, adapted from the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates.
“The movie didn’t really come to life until Ana came out,” Dominik told TODAY. “Once she came on the scene, it all, really, gelled and made sense. So I think we kind of expected it.
“When you hear her talk about (her experience), she talks about it in a much more emotional, visceral and personal way because for her, it was,” the director added.
The film’s NC-17 rating has been the subject of discussion, with de Armas previously telling L’Officiel that she “didn’t understand” the need for the rating.
The nearly three-hour drama delves deep into Norma Jeane’s traumatic childhood and her life in the spotlight. Her tumultuous and abusive relationships with two of her three husbands – baseball player Joe DiMaggio (Bobby Cannavale) and playwright Arthur Miller (Adrien Brody) – and the rumored affair with John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson) portray a woman fragile looking for love and dealing with mental health issues.
“Everyone sees the film based on their fears and their desires,” the director told 45secondes.fr, adding that while making the film, he only thought about how he would react. “That’s how it’s going to make me feel. It’s the only instrument I have to work with, it’s mine.
Taking on a larger-than-life character could take its toll on an actor, but de Armas was forced to quickly leave Norma Jeane and Monroe. She said she never had a good goodbye.
“Unfortunately my schedule was really crazy and completely unplanned, and I finished shooting ‘Blonde’ on a Friday and started shooting James Bond on Monday,” the actor said. “So (my ‘No Time to Die’ character) Paloma was kind of my therapy for letting go. »
Adding: “Was it my choice? I wouldn’t have chosen that but that’s how it worked. And I wish I had more time to say goodbye to the project and to her. But you know, it was quite beautiful. Suddenly, Paloma has a bit of Marilyn.
Aside from the NC-17 rating, the movie made headlines after the official trailer was released. Viewers saw de Armas as Marilyn with her blonde hair, red lips, and mole. She also spoke with an accent that didn’t directly mimic the icon’s voice.
The actress told L’Officiel that she had worked with a dialect coach for months, but added that her job “was not to imitate him”. “I was interested in her feelings, her background, her insecurities and her voice, in the sense that she didn’t really have one,” she added.
The official Marilyn Monroe estate even came to her defense, despite the estate not licensing the film.
“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon who transcends generations and history,” said Marc Rosen, president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group (ABG), owner of the Marilyn Monroe Estate. “Any actor who steps into this role knows they have big shoes to fill. Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Ana was a great casting choice because she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity, and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the movie in its entirety!
De Armas left the critics behind saying TODAY: “I don’t want to worry about anything because the job is done. »
“This whole cast, this crew, Andrew and the producers have been amazing, and we all gave everything we had to this project because we believed in it,” she said. “We finished this month three years ago. I watched this movie by myself, with Andrew, with friends, with family, in bits and pieces, you know, in every way you can imagine. And now you can finally see it. But I already know how I feel about the film and the work we’re doing. So I have no worries.
“And I just hope people know about Norma,” she added.
“Blonde” hits select theaters September 16 and premieres on Netflix September 23.