Ana de Armas' NC-17 Marilyn Monroe biopic is a tragic 'nightmare' inspired by Raging Bull and Citizen Kane
"Blonde is a movie for all the unloved children of the world. It's like Citizen Kane and Raging Bull had a baby daughter," filmmaker Andrew Dominik recently told Collider of the reportedly explicit Netflix film, which is currently eyeing a festival run later this year. "The whole idea of Blonde was to detail a childhood drama and then show the way in which that drama splits the adults into a public and private self. And how the adult sees the world through the lens of that childhood drama, and it's sort of a story of a person whose rational picture of the world as being overwhelmed by her unconscious, and it uses the iconography of Marilyn Monroe."
Dominik told the publication that the film's dramatic impact will rely on audience familiarity with the Hollywood legend's life, drawing on memorable photographs, films she appeared in, and more, though it "changes the meaning of all those things in accordance with her internal drama."
"It's sort of a movie about the unconscious, in a way. And it's a tragedy," he continued. "It's sort of like an unwanted child who becomes the most wanted woman in the world and has to deal with all of the desire that is directed at her, and how confusing that is. It's kind of a nightmare. It's about being in a car with no brakes. It's just going faster and faster and faster."
EW has reached out to Netflix for more information on Blonde, including its reported NC-17 rating, which is rarely given to mainstream releases and often denotes graphic nudity and/or sexual content.
The film is based on a book written by Joyce Carol Oates, who previously said she saw an early cut of the project and was impressed.
"It is startling, brilliant, very disturbing & [perhaps most surprisingly] an utterly 'feminist' interpretation," she tweeted in August 2020. "Not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything [like] this."
In addition to Armas, who recently fronted the Hulu thriller Dark Water with ex-lover Ben Affleck (and some adorable snails), Blonde stars Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody as Monroe's third husband and notable playwright Arthur Miller, with Bobby Cannavale playing famed baseball player (and Monroe's second husband) Joe DiMaggio.
Hear more on all of today's must-see picks in EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.