‘Blonde’ Author Reveals How She Feels About Marilyn Monroe Adaptation Starring Ana De Armas

by Craig Garrett

A new Marilyn Monroe biopic is set to drop on Netflix in September, and the author of the book it’s based on is weighing in. Blonde stars Ana De Armas as Monroe. The film is directed by Andrew Dominik, who made waves with 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Blonde is based on the novel of the same name from acclaimed author, Joyce Carol Oates. The author has already seen the film and approves of it, as she revealed during a discussion at a recent film festival, Variety reports.

“Andrew Dominik is a very brilliant director. I think he succeeded in showing the experience of Norma Jeane Baker from her perspective, rather than see it from the outside, the male gaze looking at a woman. He immersed himself in her perspective,” Oates said.

Blonde explores what it meant for Norma to get lost in Marilyn Monroe

In her 2000 novel, Oates explored the dual nature of Norma Jeane Baker and Marilyn Monroe. By becoming a commodity exploited by the film business, Norma Jeane lost her genuine identify to that of Marilyn Monroe. “She gained a fame in the world, but that’s not an identity you can live with. It is one that made a lot of money for a lot of men, but not much for herself. When she died, at 36, she didn’t own enough money for a proper funeral,” Oates explained.

Norma Jeane Baker is seen in the trailer for Blonde being worked on by her make-up artist. She waits for Marilyn Monroe to appear in a mirror reflection, convinced she won’t show up. “Please come. Don’t abandon me, Ana de Armas’ Monroe pleads.

“Transforming into Marilyn always took her hours,” Oates said. “Ana de Armas, the wonderful actress who plays her, I think it took her like four hours of make-up. So when you see them on screen, they don’t really exist. It’s like a fantastic image, but to make it a livelihood is to endure a good deal of anguish. As Marilyn got older, she was still being given these roles a young starlet would play, and she was feeling humiliated. You can’t keep playing this dumb blonde nearing the age of 40,” Oates added.

This Marilyn Monroe biopic will pull no punches

However Joyce Carol Oates stops short of speculating that Marilyn Monroe took her own like. “Some people say she committed suicide. I don’t necessarily think that,” Oates said. “I think she may have died of something like extreme despair.”

Blonde raised some eyebrows when it was announced that the film received an NC-17 rating. Celebrity biopics in recent years play it safe, and normally appeal to mass audiences. However, director Andrew Dominik seems unfazed. “I think if I’m given the choice, I’d rather go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story, he told Vulture. “Because we know that her life was on the edge, clearly, from the way it ended. Do you want to see the warts-and-all version or do you want to see that sanitized version?”