Netflix has released the first teaser trailer for Blonde, plus an interview with leading lady Ana de Armas and director Andrew Dominik. In the trailer, we see a distressed Norma Jeane with makeup artist Whitey (Toby Huss), juxtaposed with glimpses of the public Marilyn, including ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’, and the ‘subway scene’ from The Seven Year Itch. The film appears to use a combination of black-and-white and colour footage.
“Imagining what might have occurred behind closed doors gave Dominik the opportunity to delve into Monroe’s inner psyche. ‘She’s deeply traumatized, and that trauma necessitates a split between a public self and a private self, which is the story of everyone, but with a famous person, that often plays out publicly, in ways that may cause additional trauma,’ Dominik says. ‘The film’s very much concerned with the relationship with herself and with this other persona, Marilyn, which is both her armor and the thing that is threatening to consume her.’
Similar to the novel, Blonde meticulously recreates iconic moments from Monroe’s life and career — including her show-stopping performance of ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in Howard Hawks’s 1953 musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes — but it also takes dramatic license with her life, featuring characters who are based on historical figures as well as amalgams of people she might have known. The film’s strong supporting cast features Adrien Brody as The Playwright, Bobby Cannavale as The Ex-Athlete, and Julianne Nicholson as Norma Jeane’s mother.
‘We worked on this film for hours, every single day for almost a year,’ recalls de Armas. ‘I read Joyce’s novel, studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, films — anything I could get my hands on. Every scene is inspired by an existing photograph. We’d pore over every detail in the photo and debate what was happening in it. The first question was always, “What was Norma Jeane feeling here?” We wanted to tell the human side of her story. Fame is what made Marilyn the most visible person in the world, but it also made Norma the most invisible.’
‘Our movie is not linear or conventional; it is meant to be a sensorial and emotional experience,’ says de Armas. ‘The film moves along with her feelings and her experiences. There are moments when we are inside of her body and mind, and this will give the audience an opportunity to experience what it was like to be Norma and Marilyn at the same time.’
Although early reports have focused on Blonde’s NC-17 rating, Dominik says the material’s larger and more complex themes — the human cost of the Hollywood system, the power, and perils of female sexuality, the lifelong impact of childhood trauma — demanded an unflinching approach. ‘The film is sincere. It’s made with love. It’s made with good intentions. But it’s full of rage at the same time,’ says Dominik, ‘I seem to get myself in these situations where people regard me as provocative, but it’s never what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to say it as clearly as I can. My ambition is to make you fall in love with Marilyn.'”