Despite spending 10 years researching the tragic Hollywood icon, Blonde director Andrew Dominik apparently isn’t the biggest fan of Marilyn Monroe or her work.
and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her alcoholic, mentally ill mother.
Flashing from black and white to colour, the nearly three-hour long whirlwind is a gruesome exploration of poverty, trauma, assault and one of the most iconic rises to fame Hollywood has ever seen.
Taking on the role of Monroe, Cuban actress with her portrayal of a fragile, scarred victim battling with a new life under a global lens.
And now, during a recent interview, New Zealand filmmaker Dominik was left gobsmacked after hearing praise for the subject of his latest biopic.
The director dismissed Monroe’s movies as being nothing more than ‘cultural artefacts’ to the British Film Institute’s , labelling the song Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend as ‘romanticised whoredom’.
Film critic Christina Newland and the writer of the interview later revealed missing details from her interview with Dominik, sharing them on Twitter.
Screenshotting what she called an ‘outtake’, users could see a back and forth between the pair, during which Dominik let slip how unimpressed he is with Monroe’s movies and supposed lack of talent.
He asked the interviewer: ‘She’s somebody who’s become this huge cultural thing in a whole load of movies that nobody really watches, right? Does anyone watch Marilyn Monroe movies?’
Responding with a defence of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Newland’s opinion is shut down by the director who casts aside the film’s main characters Lorelei Lee (Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell), as ‘well-dressed whores.’
Dominik’s take on Joyce Carol Oates’ book that tells the life story of the actress, was inspired by his need to express how trauma experienced in childhood can shape a person’s perception of the world as an adult.
Admitting he was in no way aiming for historical accuracy, the filmmaker spent over a decade researching everything there is to know about Monroe, and Newland underlined this fact in her follow up tweet about comments made in the interview.
Dominik also stressed that Blonde was intended to leave viewers shaken up.He said: ‘Blonde is supposed to leave you shaking. Like an orphaned rhesus monkey in the snow. It’s a howl of pain or rage.’
After receiving a 14 minute standing ovation at the Venice film festival, some critics have tipped the film and its leading lady for Oscar nominations.
De Armas has been praised for her uncanny replica of the breathy baby doll voice Monroe was known for and despite naturally having an entirely different physique, matching the star’s iconic physicality.
However, aside from De Armas’ performance, the harrowing film received mixed reviews from the general public. An artsy viewer’s dream, the graphic scenes didn’t leave everyone with a good taste in their mouth.
TimeOut condemned the film as a missed chance for the legacy of the actress, stating: ‘For all its freedom to reimagine her life and rescue her from cultural victimhood, Blonde is just a bit too willing to chuck her overboard and watch her flounder.’
Variety meanwhile offered Dominik four out of five stars for his efforts: ‘With a passion that’s inquisitive, nearly meditative, and often powerful, Blonde focuses on the mystery we now think of when we think of Marilyn Monroe: Who was she, exactly, as a personality and as a human being? Why did her life descend into a tragedy that seems, in hindsight, as inevitable as it is haunting?’
Blonde is available to stream on Netflix from September 28.