Ana de Armas has delivered a career-defining performance in Andrew Dominik’s recently released Netflix film, Blonde, where she plays the iconic pop-cultural legend, Marilyn Monroe. Adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates novel, the film has been critically panned, where many have been taken aback by the graphic sexual violence and the incessant mention of Monroe’s alleged daddy issues.
Despite harsh criticism regarding the plot, de Armas has been showered with praise for her heart-wrenching performance as the legend who was gone too soon. She portrays the agony and anguish of Monroe as she constantly battles with her projected image while often losing control of herself. The film is an agonizing portrait of what Monroe went through during her heights of stardom and the intellectual and sexual abuse and trauma inflicted on her.
Ana de Armas went through a massive transformation to play Monroe, who has become a mythical being at this point. To fit into some of Monroe’s most iconic moments, de Armas worked hard to fit into the character. Dominik tasked her with deconstructing Monroe’s emotional layers and recreating her on-screen persona with immaculate perfection. Being a character actor, de Armas did just that.
The brilliant physical makeover by Jaime Leigh McIntosh and Tina Roesler Kerwin and their teams saw de Armas metamorphose into Norma Jean. Alongside costume, her likeness is remarkable, and that is no mean feat.
Ana de Armas felt her character come to a full circle whence was in familiar spaces, namely the place where Monroe was discovered dead in 1962- 12305 Fifth Helena Drive. She said, “We went to the apartment [where] she was a kid with her mother, and then we went to her house, where she was until the end of her life. It just gave you so much information about who she was and what she was going through in life. It was very powerful… you could feel that energy.”
The actor had completely immersed herself in character, so much so that she began having visions of Monroe in her dreams. She claimed to have full-blown conversations with the late icon and felt “closer” to her when she woke up. “It was beautiful,” she exclaimed, “I felt like I was truly experiencing everything.”