With yesterday’s tectonic announcement of the Venice Film Festival program comes a wave of aftershocks in the form of teasers meant to drum up excitement for the titles soon to be unveiled — such as Andrew Dominik‘s long-awaited Marilyn Monroe picture Blonde. In and out of development hell for the past ten years, the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates‘ novel of the same name is done, it exists, and we’ll all get to see it in two short months.
Until then, Netflix is stoking the public’s excitement with a trailer that gives us a first sampling of Ana de Armas‘ performance in the lead role, one effervescent onscreen sex symbol channeling another. While her accent work will surely prove divisive between those who demand absolute fidelity and those allowing for a more expressionistic take on Monroe, there’s no denying that her look has been replicated with almost chilling accuracy, going past the beauty mark and blonde curls and into the bones of de Armas’ face.
Blonde follows Monroe during a particularly turbulent period in her tragic life, as multiple forces bore down on her slight shoulders: the carnivorous effects of celebrity, the domineering influence of the men in her orbit (including Adrien Brody as third husband Arthur Miller and Bobby Cannavale as second husband Joe DiMaggio), the eventual dependency on the drugs that would cut her days short. As she explains in voiceover, the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ we all know was a figment of the showbiz imagination, the Norma Jeane she was born hidden from the prying eyes of the paparazzi and autograph chasers.
It’s a sturdy idea on which to hang a movie star portrait, and almost always true, but still decidedly well-worn for a film that early buzz had pegged as a rejoinder to the typical biopic formula. The rumored scads of explicit sex setting this apart from the pack make no appearance in the trailer — which makes sense, these have to play in theaters before mass-release movies — but it does leave the question of what makes this different from, say, My Week with Marilyn.
What’s confirmed by the clips below is that this will be a severely gorgeous film, the cinematography from Chayse Irvin (best known for his work on Beyonce‘s Lemonade and Spike Lee‘s BlacKkKlansman, the ravishing God’s Creatures due to be added to that list upon its release) capturing the luster of vintage filmstrips from Monroe’s era. How the shifts between color and black-and-white will be organized remains a mystery, but one that’ll be solved before long with showings at Venice and (in all likelihood) Toronto.
Blonde comes to Netflix worldwide on 28 September.
Published 28 Jul 2022