Marilyn Monroe’s official estate came to the defense of Ana de Armas, who plays the Hollywood icon in Andrew Dominik and Netflix’s upcoming drama “Blonde.” An official trailer for the film premiered online on July 28, leaving many viewers outraged at de Armas’ choice because her accent didn’t quite match Monroe’s iconic breathy tone. The film is not licensed by the Monroe estate, but the group backs de Armas’ casting nonetheless.
“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon that transcends generations and history,” said Marc Rosen, president of entertainment for Authentic Brands Group (ABG), owner of the Marilyn Monroe Estate. “Any actor who steps into that role knows that he has big shoes to fill. Based on the trailer alone, it sounds like Ana was a great casting choice, as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity, and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the movie in its entirety!”
De Armas previously told The Times of London that he spent almost an entire year working on his Monroe accent for “Blonde” before filming began. The actor said, “It took me nine months of dialect training, practice, and a few ADR sessions. [to get the accent right]. It was a great torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried.”
“Blonde” is based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates. The drama reimagines Monroe’s life, from her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane to her rise to stardom. The supporting cast includes Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, Xavier Samuel and Evan Williams. The film will premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival.
Most of the complaints about de Armas’s casting noted that he kept his Cuban accent, which is not what Monroe sounded like. De Armas told Vanity Fair in 2020 that Dominik’s decision to cast a Cuban actor as an American icon was “groundbreaking.”
“I only had to audition for Marilyn once and Andrew said ‘That’s you,’ but I had to audition for everyone else,” de Armas told the magazine. “The producers. The money people. I always have people I needed to convince. But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so bad. You see that famous picture of her and she’s smiling at the time, but that’s just part of what was really going on at the time.”
Netflix will premiere “Blonde” worldwide on September 28.