Ana de Armas channeled 'inappropriate' paparazzi attention into playing Marilyn Monroe in Blonde
UPDATE: A rep for de Armas has clarified that the timeline implied in the original profile this article references is misleading, noting that the actress filmed Blonde before she and Affleck began dating. This post has been updated accordingly.
Intrusive paparazzi are not a girl's best friend.
"I have never been someone that wants any attention that's not about my work," de Armas told Variety in a cover story published Wednesday. "So when the attention is not about my work, it is upsetting, and it feels disrespectful, and it feels inappropriate, and it feels dangerous and unsafe. But, especially in this country, I don't know how you can find protection."
"I don't know how you can stop that from happening, other than leaving," she continued. "It was one of the things that brought me closer to Marilyn. She loved what she did. She loved the profession, and she respected it very much. She just didn't receive that back."
A rep for de Armas has clarified to EW that the star was speaking of the intense paparazzi attention that stemmed from her time as a well-known actress working in Madrid. But the spotlight on her personal life only intensified during her well-documented relationship with Ben Affleck.
De Armas and Affleck split early last year after one year of dating. (Affleck has since married Jennifer Lopez.) The two met on set of Adrian Lyne's erotic psychological thriller Deep Water, centered on a quiet, wealthy husband (Affleck) whose wife (de Armas) does little to hide her affairs. When one of her lovers disappears, her husband becomes a prime suspect. But before the movie ever hit the streamer, headlines about their relationship and paparazzi shots of the couple out for walks or coffee runs regularly made the rounds.
"I learned that I cannot compromise on a director," de Armas said when asked about what she learned from the film. "Because at the end of the day, that is what the movie is going to be, and that's what the experience is going to be, and that's the person that you have to trust the most."
Blonde, on the other hand, has so far received mixed reviews, including a D+ grade from EW critic Leah Greenblatt, who contends de Armas "does her best Norma Jeane in a jumbled, misogynistic melodrama that fails to meet her halfway." She writes, "The main thing the movie misses in portraying Marilyn solely as a tragic sex bomb isn't just the pleasure that Monroe herself brought to millions, but de Armas's inner light too. The spark and vitality so evident in previous projects like Knives Out and No Time to Die has been smothered down to one note: walking wound."
"What's left," Greenblatt says, "is mostly empty iconography and a few indelible images, a bombastic curiosity wrapped in the guise of high art. Some like it cold."
Blonde premieres Sept. 28 on Netflix. Watch the trailer above.
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Ana de Armas stars in this impressionistic portrait of Marilyn Monroe's life adapted from Joyce Carol Oates' fictionalized biographical novel.