Ana de Armas doesn’t think ‘Blonde’ is ‘sensational or exploitative or gratuitous’

Ana de Armas covers AnOther Magazine to promote Blonde, for which she wants an Oscar nomination. No, scratch that – I think Ana is being told to promote the hell out of Blonde because an Oscar nom might be on the table, but that doesn’t mean that she’s actually trying to get nominated. I think she’s fine with whatever happens – it’s clear that she fell deeply in love with Marilyn Monroe and MM’s iconography, beauty, tragedy and trauma. She’s promoting this so hard because she’s actually proud of her performance and the film, however exploitative, stupid, offensive and ridiculous. You can read the full piece here (it’s super-long). Some highlights:

The cast & crew signed a card and left it at Marilyn’s crypt: “We got this big card and everyone in the crew wrote a message to her. Then we went to the cemetery and put it on her grave. We were asking for permission in a way. Everyone felt a huge responsibility, and we were very aware of the side of the story we were going to tell – the story of Norma Jeane, the person behind this character, Marilyn Monroe. Who was she really?”

Norma Jeane vs. Marilyn: “The more famous Marilyn became, the more invisible Norma Jeane became – Norma was this person no one ever actually met. And Marilyn was someone even she herself talked about in the third person. In some ways Marilyn saved her, gave her a life, but at the same time she became her prison.”

Cuban dreams: “I grew up watching everything from Titanic to The Terminator, but I always knew that reality was so far from my reality. Kids in the US, they believe they can be princesses because you can buy a princess dress and a princess crown and become one. I never had that. I didn’t even know what an apple tasted like.”

Trying to do Marilyn’s voice: “It just wasn’t working when I tried to imitate the sound or the pitch. Marilyn’s voice, her expressions, were a consequence of the speech classes she took herself, of her insecurities, of her not having any boundaries and letting people in, of playing this part of having to be rescued all the time. So I had to know what she was thinking and feeling every time. Because the way she rounded her lips for the ‘O’s, or how much of her lower teeth she would show, what her eyebrows were doing, all these expressions were a consequence of Marilyn in survival mode. They were tricks that she was pulling in desperate circumstances.”

Marilyn couldn’t afford to be angry: “In some early scenes I played it way too strong. I got defensive and angry and Andrew said, ‘You’re not allowed to get angry. Ever. Anger is not something Norma can afford.’ Well, can you imagine what that does to a person? At its heart the movie is about her looking for an absent father. Part of the reason I think she became Marilyn Monroe was to be so visible there’s no way he could not find her. You see how a childhood of feeling unloved and unwanted led her to need love, attention, need someone with her always. So I thought, OK, if I can’t get angry, what are my options? How else can I survive? And I started to explore all these other feelings.”

The violence against Marilyn: “We tried to show the fight she had to put up, not just to be successful, but to survive. What she went through was dark. So dark. When you know that, f–k, I love her more. So the whole point is not bringing down the myth, the point is humanising this icon and making her real, a real woman going through all these different kinds of abuses and situations. And as a woman today I can easily understand how you could find yourself in that situation. So, yes, there are scenes that are hard to watch. But I don’t think this movie has anything sensational or exploitative or gratuitous in it. In many of the scenes people are talking about, you don’t actually see anything. You just know what is happening and that it’s coming from a place of zero love. I do think the audience will feel uncomfortable – because she is uncomfortable. When she feels dirty, you feel that the scene is dirty. It’s all in the way it makes you feel.”

Filming in the home in which Marilyn died: “Those final scenes at her house – I know she was there with us. We all felt it. And I think you can feel that in the movie.”

[From AnOther Magazine]

One of the interesting things I learned from this profile is that Ana not only reread Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde several times, but Ana also sought out other Monroe material, including Truman Capote’s excellent essay, “A Beautiful Child.” Capote gave Marilyn more depth, agency, humor and sweetness in one essay than Oates did in an entire book, doubly so for the movie. “I don’t think this movie has anything sensational or exploitative or gratuitous in it…” That’s a damn lie. The book is exploitative as hell, and there’s a reason why the film got an NC-17 rating, even with months of edits. It IS a very specific kind of torture-p0rn and I hate that Oates’ book was the only real source material.

Cover and IG courtesy of AnOther.

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45 Responses to “Ana de Armas doesn’t think ‘Blonde’ is ‘sensational or exploitative or gratuitous’”

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  1. MangoAngelesque says:

    She tries *so hard* to sound intelligent, connected, and like she has depth, but she just….isn’t and doesn’t. Or, at least, she doesn’t seem so to me.

    • Fender says:

      I feel exactly the same way about her. I don’t find her talented either, and boy is she thirsty.

  2. Esmerelda says:

    I’m disgusted by Ana here, for being involved in this mega misogynist, exploitative project, and for defending it.
    Marilyn is not around to give her opinion, and claiming some mystical “connection” to the woman you helped exploit for a chance at the Oscar is a fairly transparent ploy.
    Ana is a “pick me” girl, who goes along with the worst of men (Pitt’s buddy Dominik, I think I’ve said it all) – just leave Marilyn alone.

    It’s one thing to take a suboptimal job to pay the bills and drop it when you can (or when you can’t take it anymore), but you don’t continue to defend it down the line. I guess it takes bravery to own up to that, bravery (and insight) that Ana just doesn’t have.

  3. Eowyn says:

    I thinks she has some pick me energy here, unfortunately. Ugh. Zero concern for what she puts out in the world.

  4. Kate says:

    What do you want her to say? Of course she’s not going to criticise a project that she’s promoting.

  5. Driver8 says:

    Blonde is terrible, but I enjoyed the acting. Be Kind Rewind on YouTube has an excellent breakdown of this movie. Capote’s take on Marylin is my favorite I read Music for Chameleons at least once a year and A Beautiful Child slays me every time.

    • trillion says:

      oooh thanks for the suggestion! I really wanted to love Blonde, but I didn’t. However: her acting really is incredible to the point where I was barely bothered by the occasional accent slip. She did a GREAT JOB in this role, problematic as it was.

  6. Sean says:

    I’m going to come right out and say it – Ana is:

    A) Being obtuse

    B) Full of shit

    C) Being willfully obtuse and thus full of shit

    There is no way anyone could have read the script to this dreck and thought it was honoring Marilyn’s legacy, memory or personhood in any way. She saw a role in what was sure to be a controversial film and took it.

    • C-Shell says:

      In a nutshell! Perfectly summarized, thank you.

      I am still disgusted and angry about Blonde/Dominik — even after all this time. It’s visceral. If that piece of work gets nominated for awards, I’ll be disgusted and angry at the whole industry.

    • ChillinginDC says:

      I have nothing to add to your excellent points!

  7. poppedbubble says:

    “You’re not allowed to get angry. Ever. Anger is not something Norma can afford.’ Well, can you imagine what that does to a person?” As a Black woman in America, yes Ana. Yes I can. Every day

  8. Susan says:

    yeah Ana, I have always liked you despite some of your pap performances (that laugh with Ben was so over the top), but this takes the cake. That movie was horrible. And someone on here I think mentioned that it was mimicry—not acting—and I agree 100 percent. I feel like all she did was—besides crying and being abused—mimic Marilyn’s classic on screen “Marilyn” moments. There was no substance to this movie. I don’t foresee any Oscar accolades for this movie. Sorry.

  9. milliemollie says:

    She’s shameless. She keeps spitting on Monroe’s grave.

  10. Stef says:

    While I thought Ana did a good job in this role, the movie as a whole was just exploitive garbage; a sad stain on both Norma and Marilyn’s legacy. Shameful torture-p@rn and misogynistic anti-abortion tripe that takes pleasure in a woman’s pain.

    • trillion says:

      I found the fetus scenes troubling – I know movies are make-believe etc. etc. but the fetus depicted in the scenes is NOT WHAT A FIRST TRIMESTER fetus looks like at all. In these times, where b.s. is so aggressively peddled about abortion, this really upset me. I didn’t read Oates’ novel and am curious if these scenes were taken from it or not.

      • Sephora says:

        Andrew Dominik didn’t even try to conceal his anti-choice views and hatred for MM. It’s legit right out of the anti-choice playbook. They always use imagery of fetuses with ten fingers and ten toes and fully formed facial features to create the false impression that women are aborting nearly formed babies, instead of the reality of fetuses being a glob of jelly that looks more like a sea horse than a human at the point most women abort.

  11. HeyKay says:

    I watched it and I found it all of these things. Disturbing and I regret watching it, it really left me feeling that MM was victimized her entire life and this movie need never have been made.

    Ana did a good job. But really, it was a sensationalized view a mentally fragile woman. RIP MM.

    • Stef says:

      Great points, Trillion and Sephora.

      As a woman who has miscarried in the first trimester, the 9 month fetus scenes were horrible. Watching it alone, I found myself saying to the screen “WTAF”?!? It was then I knew the director sucked – and a dude.

      The other part that sucked was how she called every man “daddy”, even begging scenes. It’s not known she did that at all!

      It’s some men’s fantasy to be “daddy” to a “little girl” or “girl” who is also their wife/partner and it makes me wanna barf. Just wrong on so many levels of disgustingly archaic misogyny.

      If Ana and the cast actually believe this film empowered Norma Jean or Marilyn’s memory (or legacy), they failed in spectacular fashion.

  12. detritus says:

    We defiled her image, reduced her to nothing, and dramatized her lowest moments. Then we left a card on her grave!


    • Brassy Rebel says:

      Yeah, the card at the crypt made me nauseous. If they wanted to honor MM, they never would have made this movie.

      JCO, just starting out as a teacher, was my sister’s English prof in college. I have read many of her books and followed her career for decades. Blonde was a serious disappointment.

    • Stef says:


      “we exploited you in a fictionalized version of your life and made torture-p*rn out of all the times you were abused and taken advantage of, plus adding a few more fake events for good measure. Here is a card on your grave to say thanks!”

      How freaking tone deaf!

  13. Lee says:

    I don’t know if I will watch this or not, for the obvious reason that it’s exploitive. But my general thoughts are that I had no idea how horribly she was treated until the controversy surrounding this movie started, and I would venture a guess that none of my friends or family members did either. So while this movie sounds exploitive, is it good that her true story has been communicated in some way to a much broader audience? Or is her true story still lost? Like Marilyn’s true life has always been lost – I mean, I was Marilyn Monroe for Halloween when I was in tenth grade in 1998, before you could even get Marilyn Monroe costumes. I wore the long silk slip that went under my grandmothers laced wedding dress and curled my hair and used brown eyeliner to portray her mole. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, I was trying emulate a beautiful woman who I admired. I still haven’t read Joyce carol oates book and I didn’t know much about Marilyn’s life until recently – because of this movie. Did the movie inadvertently open up a lot of information about her “real” life (and I’m guessing some of her peers as well)? Not saying this movie was the best way to do it, at all, but is it good that the conversation is happening now? Or better to let the true story remain unknown?

    I’m guessing non of the profits went to any foundations or not for profit organizations, but that would have been ideal (or made it better).

    • C says:

      Uh, a lot of the poor treatment of Monroe by those around her is widely-known. But this movie including it in its own twisted version doesn’t make it her story.

    • Coco says:

      This was not a true story about Marilyn Monroe this was a fictional torture-porn and misogynistic anti-abortion tripe movie. This movie was made and written by a man who hates women and produced by a man who abuses them and children.

    • Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

      DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. I made the mistake (curiosity got the best of me) and it’s worse than you can possibly imagine. Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe is beyond objectified. She’s a literal sex toy. She’s also portraying a child in a woman’s body. She calls her husbands Daddy, and the main driver keeping her alive is the fantasy that she’ll be reunited with her estranged father.

  14. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    I do not believe for one second Ana de Armas read anything about Marilyn Monroe. Her performance was flat and one note because the only note to play was “weeping”. Having watched the movie, I am disgusted by everyone who participated in the film’s production.

  15. Lou says:

    The thing I’ve noticed with Ana is she has very few friends within the industry.

  16. AmelieOriginal says:

    I don’t plan to watch this movie at all but for those who watched it, were you able to get past Ana’s Cuban accent? Even in the trailers I’ve watched, Ana sounds nothing like Marilyn and you can fully hear her accent. She just sounds like Ana de Armas in a blond wig.

  17. Renee' says:

    Jeez am I glad to hear others thought this movie was the dumpster fire it was! It was pure garbage. It did such an injustice to Marilyn and her legacy.

    I did think Ana’s performance was pretty good overall, but the entire movie was atrocious.

  18. Lollipop says:

    I wonder how she would feel if people would make such a movie about her and her life. Would she still think it’s not sensational, exploitative or gratuitous?

  19. Trish says:

    I haven’t watched this movie because being a Marilyn fan since I was 12, I don’t think I can get through it. I know it will effect me in a bad way as I suffer from depression and anxiety. I always liked Ana but she’s said some things recently that makes me realize that you never know a celebrity and while they may seem nice, you don’t know that for sure.

  20. jferber says:

    Once I heard of the anti-abortion propaganda in the movie, no way would I see it. And frankly, leave poor Marilyn alone already. Let her rest in peace. No more movies, please!

  21. Sephora says:

    Honestly her Oscar buzz is baffling to me because imo she was awful in the movie, a caricature of Marilyn. I’ve seen better acting from drag queens. Clearly she only studied Marilyn the actress. That is not how MM behaved and spoke irl.
    Anyone who thinks she actually sounded like Marilyn has never heard Marilyn Monroe speak .

    It’s infuriating that Dominyk and Ana are definitely trying to imply it’s a biopic.It’s-not-a-biopic-it’s-trauma-porn-fantasy.

    Everybody said that Ana’s accent was not important cause it’s fictional but she said that she had years of vocal training to capture MM’s speaking voice
    Seriously ?YEARS? No offence (or maybe offence?) meant to Ana but that training did nothing to keep her accent from slipping through. (No, I haven’t watched it and won’t be watching it, but I’ve checked out clips floating around.)

    • milliemollie says:

      But is there truly Oscar buzz around her? Except from the one she and her team are trying to create? I only saw her name under Long shot in a list of Oscar nominations, I really don’t think she’ll get a nom. The movie was not well received by critics and would the Academy really nominate a performance with so much nudity and sex/r*ape scenes?

      • Sephora says:

        Variety did an article saying that she may have a chance and I found that mind blowing … and Ana is everywhere giving these crazy quotes so clearly she thinks she has a shot…

  22. Sophie says:

    I thought this movie was fictionalised. These people really cannot get their acts together on the messaging around this, on the one hand its “oh its okay that we added all these traumas that didn’t happen, this isn’t real, its meta-commentary on the exploitative nature of fame” and then you got Ana de Armaswittering about going to visit Marilyn’s grave to get her “permission” like make your damn minds up, people.
    Ana is just delusional

  23. Veronica S. says:

    It was blatant pro-life propaganda, and she should be embarrassed for agreeing to be in that movie. I’ve never had my crush on a celebrity killed so fast as that taking fetus scene did for me where she was concerned.

    • Omar says:

      Unfortunately me too, I was rooting for her after Knives out but this quote from the director from Hollywood Authentic magazine (whatever the fuck that is), and yikes on several levels: “The other thing you need to appreciate about Ana is that she’s always right. Occasionally on Blonde, various departments would complain about her being difficult, right? She’s doing this and doing that and it’s not what we wanted or agreed. So, then they’d send me in there to talk some sense into her. And I’d walk into her trailer, and she’d say: Andrew, look at this, don’t you think this works better this way? And it did. She was always right.”

      At first,I was like ´´Poor Ana, she didn’t know what she was getting into!!” . She not only had the script for a year, she was actively making changes to things and it still turned out as is.

      I can’t stay infantalizing her, pleading that she was only doing her job and there was barely any involvement behind the scenes.
      Maybe later,she will trash Dominyk like she did with Adrian Lyne… I hope she will choose better movies

  24. bears says:

    Did she even watch her own movie? I get that sometimes there’s a disconnect because the actor has an entirely different perspective having made the movie yet not having actually consumed it as a finished product.

  25. ScotiaGirl says:

    This was pure garbage and I paid through On Demand to watch it. Waste of time and money. The movie jumped around and never tied up any ends before jumping to the next period – the period with President Kennedy was barely even covered. It was basically a porn movie with her walking around naked most of the time. All over the map and no depth on anything. This doesn’t even deserve a Razzie little lone an Oscar.

    The scences with the fetus were just BIZARRE1

    • Anna says:

      Do you know Ana de Armas filmography ? Her specialty is being naked,doing sex scenes and playing ingénue :Knock Knock,Deep water,that movie she did with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, the movies she did in Spain…