‘Blonde’ director opens up on controversial Netflix biopic

Ana de Armas in character as Marilyn Monroe smoking a cigarette mid-conversation in a still from ‘Blonde’ on Netflix
Image via Netflix

Netflix’s upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic, Blonde, has had its fair share of controversy given it’s recent NC-17 rating by the MPAA. This will be the first time the streaming company has produced a film with such a restrictive rating. The film’s director, Andrew Dominik, best-known for his film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, sat down with Collider to discuss the film.

Dominik says the final cut is exactly the film he wanted to make, and that Netflix is supportive of it, even with its NC-17 rating.

“Well, the whole idea of Blonde was to detail a childhood drama and then show the way in which that drama splits the adults into a public and private self. And how the adult sees the world through the lens of that childhood drama, and it’s sort of a story of a person whose rational picture of the world as being overwhelmed by her unconscious, and it uses the iconography of Marilyn Monroe.”

He’s hoping the film will shift audiences’ perspective on all the iconic imagery surrounding Monroe.

“It uses all the imagery that you have seen of Marilyn Monroe, the films, photographs of her life. But it changes the meaning of all those things in accordance with her internal drama. So it’s sort of a movie about the unconscious in a way. And it’s a tragedy. It’s sort of like an unwanted child who becomes the most wanted woman in the world and has to deal with all of the desire that is directed at her, and how confusing that is. It’s kind of a nightmare. It’s about being in a car with no brakes. It’s just going faster and faster and faster.”

Ana de Armas stars as Monroe, with Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, and Julianna Nicholson appearing alongside her. Dominik has had nothing but praise about Ana’s performance, saying she is “fucking amazing,” and “the one thing nobody’s going to complain about is [her] performance.”

The film is based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. This isn’t the first time her book has been adapted. There was a made-for-TV movie released in 2001 by CBS that starred Poppy Montgomery as Monroe.

Dominik mentioned that the film took a while to cut, and that he hopes to premiere it at the Venice Film Festival in September. No word yet on when the film will hit Netflix, but it’s expected to be out by the end of 2022.