Committing to the role! Bringing the story of Marilyn Monroe to life was a long time in the making before Ana de Armas joined the effort.
Blonde, which is directed by Andrew Dominik, has been in development since 2010. Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts were previously attached to the project before de Armas was officially cast in 2019.
For the Knives Out star, the process of becoming Monroe came with its own set of challenges.
“I had to go bald every day, because [of] the blonde wigs,” de Armas said during an interview with Byrdie in March 2021. “[Marilyn] went through different shades of blonde from golden to really platinum, so for these wigs that are beautifully made, you can’t have anything dark underneath, so we had to make a bald cap every single day from my forehead to [around] my whole head.”
The Cuba native detailed spending “three-and-a-half hours every day” in makeup, adding, “I think I actually cried the first time I saw [the wigs] on. Probably because I was terrified. But I’m so proud.”
The Deep Water star also opened up about the insight she gained while trying to put herself into Monroe’s headspace.
“She went through a lot of things that were not easy at the time — it would not even be easy right now. I was lucky I had months to prepare,” she said at the time. “We don’t usually have that luxury — we usually have to rush into the project and make it as you go, but that one I really had the time to study. There’s so much material about her, like so much to watch and listen to. It’s incredible.”
The Blade Runner actress previously confirmed that it took a while for her to score the role.
“I only had to audition for Marilyn once and Andrew said ‘It’s you,’ but I had to audition for everyone else,” de Armas told Vanity Fair in 2020. “The producers. The money people. I always have people I needed to convince. But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so badly. You see that famous photo of her and she is smiling in the moment, but that’s just a slice of what she was really going through at the time.”
Dominik, for his part, teased that he considered Blonde to be “one of the ten best movies ever made” before the biopic was even filmed. “It’s basically the story of every human being, but it’s using a certain sense of association that we have with something very familiar, just through media exposure,” he told Collider in 2016. “It takes all of those things and turns the meanings of them inside out, according to how she feels, which is basically how we live.”
He continued: “It’s how we all operate in the world. It just seems to me to be very resonant. I think the project has got a lot of really exciting possibilities, in terms of what can be done, cinematically.”
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