How do you cast a legend? This was the question director Andrew Dominik faced for the last few years while developing his next movie, Blonde, about the life of Marilyn Monroe. According to Collider, it appears Dominik has found his Marilyn. Ana de Armas is currently in talks for the role, and production is reportedly set for this summer.
Blonde is based on the acclaimed novel by Joyce Carol Oates, which isn't a biopic, but the movie will undoubtedly be marketed that way. The novel is an inside look at Marilyn's personal life through her most famous years and Oates devotes plenty of pages (over 700) to the question of the actress's death. Oates investigates the possibility Monroe was murdered.
Blonde has already been adapted into a 2001 CBS mini-series, starring Poppy Montgomery, which saw plenty of negative reviews. Dominik's movie should be a big step up. The director certainly has high hopes. He told Collider back in 2016:
"('Blonde') will be one of the ten best movies ever made... It’s a film about the human condition. It tells the story of how a childhood trauma shapes an adult who’s split between a public and a private self. It’s basically the story of every human being, but it’s using a certain sense of association that we have with something very familiar, just through media exposure. It takes all of those things and turns the meanings of them inside out, according to how she feels, which is basically how we live. It’s how we all operate in the world. It just seems to me to be very resonant. I think the project has got a lot of really exciting possibilities, in terms of what can be done, cinematically."
De Armas is another big step up from the ill-fated mini-series. The talented Blade Runner 2049 star is on the cusp on superstardom and playing Marilyn Monroe should only heighten her profile. She's one of many actresses to play Monroe over the past few decades. (Michelle Williams was Oscar nominated for My Week with Marilyn.)
Dominik might seem like a strange choice to helm a production about one of the most notoriously shy and secretive women in Hollywood history. The Australian director's usually knee deep in shootouts and gangsters. But his film The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford seems like a good touchstone for Blonde. Both are fictionalized biopics of very famous people, and also character studies. Look for Blonde to have some of that deep Jesse James reflection.
Read more over at Collider.