Marilyn Monroe Estate defends Ana de Armas in ‘Blonde’

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Despite criticisms, Ana de Armas’s performance as Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming Netflix movie Blonde has already received a rave review from the screen icon’s estate.

“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon that transcends generations and history,” Marc Rosen, president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group, which owns the Marilyn Monroe estate, told Variety on Monday. “Any actor that steps into that role knows they have big shoes to fill. Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Ana was a great casting choice as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the film in its entirety!”

The supportive comments come less than a week after the trailer dropped for director Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s 1989 book of the same name. The clip has fueled debate on social media over the Cuban-born actress’s recreation of Monroe’s breathy voice and whether it matters if her natural accent does break through, since there are many examples of actors having portrayed characters who didn’t speak like them.

De Armas told London’s The Times in January 2021 that she worked hard to perfect that iconic voice even before stepping in front of the camera.

“It took me nine months of dialect coaching, and practicing and some ADR sessions,” de Armas said. “It was a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried.”

The actress, known for roles in No Time to Die, Knives Out and Blade Runner 2049, described Dominik’s decision to cast a Cuban woman as Monroe in a fictionalized take on her life story as “groundbreaking” in a March 2020 interview with Vanity Fair.

Forbes reported in November 2020 that the estate of Monroe had raked in $8 million between Oct. 1, 2019 and Oct. 1, 2020, which placed the iconic entertainer at No. 13 on the magazine’s annual list of highest-paid dead celebrities. In addition to movies and TV shows, the publication wrote that, “Monroe’s image and name are used by nearly 100 brands globally, including Dolce & Gabbana, Zales and even Lego Group.” However, Monroe did not make the same list in 2021.

The Some Like It Hot actress has previously been played by, among others, Poppy Montgomery (in a 2001 TV movie adaptation of Blonde), Mira Sorvino (HBO’s 1996 movie Norma Jean and Marilyn, for which Sorvino was nominated for an Emmy), Michelle Williams (the movie My Week With Marilyn in 2011, for which she was nominated for an Oscar).

Blonde is available Sept. 28 on Netflix.

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