The original author of Blonde, Joyce Carol Oates, has come out in defence of the new Netflix adaptation of her 1999 novel. Starring Ana de Armas as Norma Jean (aka Marilyn Monroe), the biopic intentionally “blurs the lines of fact and fiction”.
The much-anticipated Netflix film has not been without controversy. Since its release last week, Ana de Armas’ performance as the iconic Hollywood actress has received much praise. However, some have argued that the film exploits Monroe and her story.
Oates, the author of the book the film is based on, has defended the work, dubbing it “a “brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone”. In a tweet, the author wrote: “Surprising that in a post #MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as ‘exploitation’. Surely [director] Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane’s story sincerely.”
Blonde stars the likes of Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody and Julianne Nicholson. It originally received an NC-17 rating in the US, which would make it an 18+ film in the UK. This is likely due to the graphic depictions of sexual violence and abuse.
Speaking to L’officiel USA, de Armas responded to the controversy by saying: “I didn’t understand why that happened. I can tell you a number of shows or movies that are way more explicit with a lot more sexual content than Blonde.“
The actor continued: “But to tell this story it is important to show all these moments in Marilyn’s life that made her end up the way that she did. It needed to be explained. Everyone [in the cast] knew we had to go to uncomfortable places. I wasn’t the only one.”