Netflix ‘Blonde’ Held Back for 2022 Release

Following its absence from this month’s Cannes Film Festival, and the news that it won’t be screened at the Venice Film Festival in September (see here), it’s perhaps unsurprising to read Variety‘s report that Blonde – Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of the Joyce Carol Oates novel, produced for Netflix and starring Ana de Armas – will not be released until 2022.

“Directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), who also adapted the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde was one of the year’s most anticipated films by industry insiders and consumers. A specific release date in 2022 has not been set yet.

In development since 2010, actresses like Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts were once attached to the project. Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux stated in an interview with Deadline that he had invited Blonde to screen out-of-competition at this year’s festival, but Netflix declined.

Cuban actor Ana de Armas has been a rising star in Hollywood for the past few years with memorable roles in Blade Runner 2049 and Knives Out, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. The film will also star Oscar-winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Emmy nominee Julianne Nicholson (HBO’s Mare of Easttown) and Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire).

Dominik has stated in past interviews that the film ‘has very little dialogue in it’ (see here), which could have made it difficult to navigate the upcoming awards season where the streamer would have bait-y contenders like the large ensemble Don’t Look Up from Adam McKay and the period drama The Power of the Dog from Jane Campion.

Netflix has an avalanche of projects waiting in the wings for awards consideration, many of which are undated but expected to drop in the calendar year … Blonde is produced by Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Tracey London, Brad Pitt and Scott Robertson.”

Ana de Armas

While we’re waiting, Vanity Fair has published an article by Patricia Bosworth, written shortly before her death in 2020, marking 20 years since Blonde was first published. Bosworth, who studied at the Actors Studio, previously shared her memories of Marilyn in her 2017 memoir (see here.)

“When Blonde was published in 2000, it was met with the kind of divisive literary fervor that now plays out most aggressively in 280-character tirades. Some critics felt the subject had been dissected enough in biographies (by Gloria Steinem and Norman Mailer), memoir (Monroe’s sister), and countless films, while Michiko Kakutani, for the New York Times, eviscerated the book’s blending of fact and fiction, which she called ‘playing to readers’ voyeuristic interest in a real-life story while using the liberties of a novel to tart up the facts.’ But others described Blonde as ‘scary and rhapsodic’ and ‘epic and impressionistic,’ and it went on to garner nominations for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize that year.

Joyce Carol Oates achieved this in Blonde, drawing on the preoccupations—sexual violence perpetrated against women, and all that is shameful and lonely about female adolescence—that haunt many of her greatest novels … This may be why the best parts of Blonde are when Oates zeroes in on the young Monroe and her time spent in orphanages and with adults who couldn’t or shouldn’t care for her.

Oates began imagining the icon’s life after discovering a blurry snapshot of her at 15 years old, smiling radiantly, vacantly, poignantly into the camera. ‘She looks like girls I went to high school with,’ the Lockport, New York, native has said. The bones of Monroe’s life … and death at age 36—in thrall to Oates’s prodigious imagination, render a near-mythic story in flesh and blood.”