Inside Variety’s cover story with Ana de Armas:— Variety (@Variety) September 21, 2022
Ana de Armas’ ‘Blonde’ Ambition: How She Channeled Marilyn Monroe’s Body and Soul for Netflix’s NC-17 Gamble https://t.co/AwYUgRWqu7 pic.twitter.com/8owb823RID
Since Ana de Armas has been especially insufferable during the BLONDE promo tour, I decided to take one for the team.
• Variety says de Armas is pushed to the limit as Marilyn Monroe in BLONDE, where she "explodes with anguish and suffers genuinely brutal sexual violence and degradation."
• Chris Evans was very impressed: When de Armas first showed Evans a still from her camera test, he says, “I remember looking at it and saying, ‘OK, that’s Marilyn … where’s your shot? That’s you? Holy shit! You’re going to win an Oscar for this!’”
• BLONDE is nearly three hours long at 166 minutes, full of degradation such as President John F. Kennedy forcing Marilyn to perform oral sex on him while he speaks on the phone.
• She kind of criticizes Fatal Attraction’s Adrian Lyne, who directed her in Deep Water: "I learned that I cannot compromise on a director. Because at the end of the day, that is what the movie is going to be, and that’s what the experience is going to be, and that’s the person that you have to trust the most."
• Director Andrew Dominik refused to allow Ana to show rage as Marilyn. [OP Note: not even a scene of her by herself or imagining an outburst? Really?]
• Dominik did this film out of respect for Marilyn: "I felt from the beginning how much respect he had for Marilyn. You don’t pursue and fight so hard for something for over 10 years if you don’t really believe in that. He was so passionate and sure."
• Likewise, they did this movie FOR Marilyn: "We’re telling her story from her point of view. I’m making people feel what she felt. When we had to shoot these kinds of scenes, like the one with Kennedy, it was difficult for everybody. But at the same time, I knew I had to go there to find the truth...I did things in this movie I would have never done for anyone else, ever. I did it for her, and I did it for Andrew."
• She was going through Marilyn training while filming Knives Out and after her day wrapped, she did two hours a day of the Monroe accent and voice classes. While filming BLONDE, she spent her off hours learning the choreography for re-created musical numbers and movie scenes.
• Ana filmed the James Bond sequel in a kind of grief and Marilyn is ~in~ Bond: "I couldn’t say goodbye. I couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t let her go. I went to visit her at her cemetery a few times — I would have liked to go one more time. If you think about Paloma now, I am sure that there is some Marilyn in there. There is! Her energy and her charm and this thing where she was lit from the inside — Paloma stole a little bit of her."
• Her obviously staged paparazzi walks with Ben Affleck were an insult to her as an artist: "When I was living in Madrid, I was a very well-known actress and had press and paparazzi after me. It’s something that you learn, unfortunately...I have never been someone that wants any attention that’s not about my work. So when the attention is not about my work, it is upsetting, and it feels disrespectful, and it feels inappropriate, and it feels dangerous and unsafe."
• The public scrutiny from her relationship with Affleck brought her closer to Marilyn since Monroe was serious about performing even as she was only seen as an object. "I’m just interested in my work. I want to be remembered for that. The other side, I’m not interested. Some people have a better time making peace with that. Some people even like it. I’m in the group of people who would prefer not to have that."
• Unprompted, Ana brings up the idea that clips of her nude body in the film will circulate outside the context of the film. “I know what’s going to go viral and it’s disgusting. It’s upsetting just to think about it. I can’t control it; you can’t really control what they do and how they take things out of context. I don’t think it gave me second thoughts; it just gave me a bad taste to think about the future of those clips.”
• She recalls a day on set where her hairstylist, watching de Armas and footage of Monroe on separate monitors, ended up baffled that the fixes she was making to de Armas’ hair weren’t sticking. TURNS OUT, Ana and Marilyn looked SO similar that she’d confused star and subject.
• Ana's Cuban accent slipping through isn't a big deal: "Someone’s voice has many qualities. It’s not just an accent or the pitch or the breathiness. You can imitate someone very well and have no soul. As much as I wanted to get it as close as possible to her voice, if that voice didn’t have a feeling, that meant nothing to me."
Dominik added, "She sounds like a fully fledged human being, as opposed to a cardboard cutout. What a lot of people think Marilyn Monroe sounds like is probably an imitation they’ve heard as much as it is the actual person. She’s got no doubt about herself as an actress, but the muscles in her face, her mouth and her tongue have formed differently than a person who is a native English speaker. It’s a big ask."
• Ana has watched BLONDE multiple times already since every time, she finds something new to appreciate. She especially appreciates the film since it depicts Norma Jeane’s anguish over not having a father figure and her own father never got a chance to watch it (he passed away last year).
• Watching BLONDE in Venice was a surreal experience since she was up in the balcony, and from there her character’s degradation felt raw and powerful: "It was like a double image. We were looking at the people looking at her. It was such a surreal point of view."
• She is nervous for the Netflix premiere: "It’s very nerve-racking! Because it’s literally not just a movie theater — it is everybody. The world will see it. So I am very excited — and it is time to let go."
Source, two, three, four