Blonde: Everything We Know About the NC-17-Rated Marilyn Monroe Biopic Starring Ana de Armas

Ana de Armas is going Blonde. The Knives Out and No Time to Die star will portray Marilyn Monroe in a drama directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James) that’s headed to Netflix this fall. Set to depict an unflinching fictional portrait of the Hollywood icon’s life, the project has been highly anticipated ever since de Armas’s casting was announced in 2019. Now, with its premiere quickly approaching, we’re rounding up what to know about the film so far.

What is Blonde about?

Here’s the official synopsis from Netflix:

“Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.”

“Andrew’s ambitions were very clear from the start—to present a version of Marilyn Monroe’s life through her lens,” de Armas told Netflix Queue. “He wanted the world to experience what it actually felt like to not only be Marilyn, but also Norma Jeane.” (Oates intentionally spelled Monroe’s birth name with an extra e.)

“I found that to be the most daring, unapologetic, and feminist take on her story that I had ever seen,” de Armas added.



Dominik didn’t shy away from highlighting Monroe’s trauma. “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,” he told Netflix Queue.

Oates seems to approve of the adaptation. Back in 2020, after seeing a rough cut of the film, she tweeted that it’s “startling, brilliant, very disturbing” as well as “an utterly ‘feminist’ interpretation… not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything this.”

When is the release date?

Blonde premieres on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 23.

Is there a trailer?

Yes…kind of. Netflix released the first teaser on June 16, giving us the first official look of de Armas as the iconic Hollywood bombshell.

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The streamer also dropped first-look photos from the film, which includes a shot of de Armas recreating Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number, dressed in hot pink.

blonde ana de armas as marilyn monroe cr netflix © 2022

2022 © Netflix

blonde ana de armas as marilyn monroe cr netflix © 2022

2022 © Netflix

blonde ana de armas as marilyn monroe cr netflix © 2022

2022 © Netflix

blonde ana de armas as marilyn monroe cr netflix © 2022

2022 © Netflix

Who is in the cast?

A handful of stars will support de Armas in Blonde, including Adrien Brody as “The Playwright,” Bobby Cannavale as “The Ex-Athlete,” and Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown) as Norma Jeane’s mother, according to Netflix Queue.

Caspar Phillipson, Evan Williams, Toby Huss, Lily Fisher, Sara Paxton, David Warshofsky, Xavier Samuel, Michael Masini, Spencer Garrett, Chris Lemmon, Rebecca Wisocky, Scoot McNairy, Dan Butler, Garret Dillahunt, Lucy Devito, and Ned Bellamy are also in the cast.

Why does it have an NC-17 rating?

The Motion Picture Association rated Blonde as NC-17 citing “some sexual content,” though it didn’t elaborate further. Per The Hollywood Reporter, this would be the first original Netflix film with that rating, though the streamer has hosted other NC-17 films on its platform before.

Even before the MPA announced the rating, Dominik sensed that Blonde would be an NC-17 film. He told Screen Daily in February, “It’s a demanding movie. If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the fucking audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office.” He added, “It’s an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it’s kind of what you want, right? I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.”

Dominik also told Screen Daily that he brought on editor Jennifer Lame (Tenet, Manchester by the Sea) “to curb the excesses of the movie.” The outlet reports that Blonde includes a rape scene, which was included in Oates’s original novel.

How did de Armas prepare for the role?

“I read Joyce’s novel, studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, films—anything I could get my hands on,” she told Netflix Queue. “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?’”

As for the physical transformation, de Armas would spend two and a half to three hours getting her hair and makeup done every morning for the production’s 47-day shoot. The actress also told ELLE UK that “it was a big, big, big challenge playing Marilyn Monroe.”

She explained: “It would have been very easy to just nail her look—the lips, the lashes but that’s not who she truly was, she was way more than that. It was quite a thing to go back to that time period and look at her beauty routine and the way she did her face. I wore that makeup so many times I could do it on my own now. Her hair changed shades of blonde all the time, and got shorter and longer. Even the fashion, with the bras and the dresses, was so highly produced.”

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