Ana de Armas on playing Marilyn: I felt ‘deeply sad. I felt heavy. I felt helpless’

Ana de Armas covers the latest issue of Variety, all to promote Blonde, the Marilyn Monroe bio-pic (sort of). The cover and photoshoot actually leans into Brigitte Bardot-esque styling, which actually works for Ana. I friggin’ love those fishnet stockings too, this cover alone has made me want to buy a pair of fishnets. I haven’t owned fishnets since college! Lord. Anyway, Ana is promoting the hell out of Blonde but all of her magazine profiles are sort of bleeding together for me. Netflix and Ana are going the “Lady Gaga route” of making this role sound like it was the most all-encompassing and soul-crushing job of a lifetime. Except Ana at least acknowledges that she didn’t live inside Marilyn, Method-actor-style, 24-7. You can read the full Variety piece here. Some highlights:

Finally premiering ‘Blonde’ in Venice: “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions. There were moments where I thought maybe this movie would never come out.”

Chris Evans on seeing the first camera-test photos of Ana-as-MM: “I remember looking at it and saying, ‘OK, that’s Marilyn … where’s your shot? That’s you? Holy sh-t! You’re going to win an Oscar for this!’”

Why ‘Blonde’ has such raw exploitation & abuse scenes: “We’re telling her story from her point of view. I’m making people feel what she felt. When we had to shoot these kinds of scenes, like the one with Kennedy, it was difficult for everybody. But at the same time, I knew I had to go there to find the truth.”

She didn’t stay in character constantly: “When I’m doing my hair and makeup, it’s just me, it’s Ana.” But she describes her state of mind while playing Monroe as “deeply sad. I felt heavy. I felt helpless that I couldn’t change what was happening. I just had to go through a story that I know how it’s going to end.”

On direct-to-Hulu movie ‘Deep Water’: But in another disappointment for de Armas, the film was something of a disaster, receiving poor reviews and an ignominious dump on streaming. “I learned that I cannot compromise on a director,” she says of that film, which was helmed by “Fatal Attraction’s” Adrian Lyne. “Because at the end of the day, that is what the movie is going to be, and that’s what the experience is going to be, and that’s the person that you have to trust the most.”

Her pap strolls with Ben Affleck: Her ongoing role seemed to be as a partner in romantic walks with Affleck around Los Angeles in view of invasive photographers. This wasn’t exactly new for de Armas, whose screen career began in Spain after studying theater in Cuba. “When I was living in Madrid, I was a very well-known actress and had press and paparazzi after me. It’s something that you learn, unfortunately.” But the intensity of focus on de Armas’ romantic life frightened her. “I have never been someone that wants any attention that’s not about my work. So when the attention is not about my work, it is upsetting, and it feels disrespectful, and it feels inappropriate, and it feels dangerous and unsafe. But, especially in this country, I don’t know how you can find protection. I don’t know how you can stop that from happening, other than leaving.” Her breakup with Affleck was first reported in early 2021; now, de Armas lives in New York City.

She knows that naked clips & screengrabs from ‘Blonde’ will hit the internet: “I know what’s going to go viral and it’s disgusting. It’s upsetting just to think about it. I can’t control it; you can’t really control what they do and how they take things out of context. I don’t think it gave me second thoughts; it just gave me a bad taste to think about the future of those clips.”

On being a Cuban woman playing a famous American: “As drama students, we did Tennessee Williams. We did Shakespeare in Spanish. To me, this concept of ‘You can’t play this or play that’ — what does that mean? I’m an actress, I want to play that role. It’s a personal desire and ambition to play roles that I wasn’t supposed to play. To me, art is to be repeated and replicated and reinterpreted; that’s the whole point of culture. And I deserve that challenge.”

[From Variety]

While I have qualms about a Cuban-accented Marilyn Monroe, I agree that casting Ana isn’t really problematic to me in general. There’s so much whitewashing and American-centrism in Hollywood, it’s kind of cool to see it go the other way around, for a Havana native to tackle this role. All of Ana’s quotes about Ben Affleck and Deep Water though… hilarious. Those were super-obvious pap strolls and both of them knew what they were doing. Now she wants to play it off like it was super-invasive – they were walking on the street, POSING for photographers. My God.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, cover courtesy of Variety.

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21 Responses to “Ana de Armas on playing Marilyn: I felt ‘deeply sad. I felt heavy. I felt helpless’”

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  1. Yup, Me says:

    Her pap stroll jeans were cute. That gape maw laugh was unfortunate, though.

    I keep intending to check out Blonde and then forgetting about it.

  2. Talita says:

    That’s what I will always remember this relationship by, the pic where she is laughing so hard, like, omg ben, you’re so hilarious, we’re having so much fun lol

  3. (Gentlemen Prefer) Owlsyn says:

    Crispy Crackers, was Marilyn Monroe ever *happy*? I realize she had her demons and that a lot of her life was troubled, but good Lord I don’t think I have read a single positive or uplifting thing about her life in regards to this movie. It just seems like a swampy mire of dark bleak misery that you have to slog through because it’s an ‘important’ film.

  4. Emmi says:

    Actors can be so exhausting. We get it, you’re so invested, so emotional, you give your life your body your spirit to this ART! I enjoy some actors talking about their work, like Denzel. Because they talk about it like it is actually work and requires training and dedication. Then there are actors who actually don’t talk about the work but about themselves and their Sacrifice with a capital S. It just makes me not want to watch those movies. And I’ve been so bored by so many of these movies that are supposedly amazing. House of Gucci? It had so much potential but ended up being so boring. Batman? I never finished it, I was – again – so bored. The list goes on. The best thing about Thor – Love and Thunder was Christian Bale, no surprise there. I was told it would be suuuuper funny but it was just fine.

  5. Concern Fae says:

    Caught Deep Water on Hulu. Interesting flick, but it played so hard into the mystery, that when you get to the end, a movie about the reality of what was going on would have been a much better movie. Another film Ruined By The Twist.

    Also – Zandalee, a whacked out Nicholas Cage neo-noir from the 90s, also set in New Orleans, is currently streaming on Tubi. These two made for a great double feature. Highly recommended. Nicholas Cage has one of my favorite lines of all time in this film “I want to shake you naked and eat you alive, Zandalee.”

    Looking forward to Blonde.

  6. Sigmund says:

    Ana is a really talented actress, and according to the reviews I’ve read, she’s basically the best part of the film. And I do think she’s playing things up a little bit in this interview because she’s clearly wanting an Oscar nom for the role.

    However, I’m tired of all these dour and depressing takes on Monroe, and Blonde sounds like the worst one yet. One review said you were almost relieved when Marilyn dies at the end, because all the violence and rape is finally over for her.

  7. Rhonda says:

    “We’re telling her story from her point of view.” But you’re not. The pornographic rape scenes with Kennedy are complete lies. Everything I’ve read about this movie sounds truly awful and yet another chance for some people to fantasize about using and abusing Marilyn. Let her and her memory rest in peace.

    • michyk says:

      it’s not really lies, it’s fiction. the movie is based on a fictional ‘what-if’ story. i wish she had made it more clear (and the marketing in general would make it more clear) that this is a piece of fiction based on a piece of fiction. fiction allows some creative license with the details. but year, totally agree that they’re not telling the story from marilyn’s pov.

      • Rhonda says:

        She’s doing more than being unclear here though. And de Armas has been suggesting she channelled the real Marilyn during the shoot. Does she understand she’s in a fictional movie based on a fictional story? She’s either very ill informed about her own project or she’s trying to create controversy. At the very least, she’s harming Marilyn’s image by suggesting it wasn’t fiction.

      • Brousse says:

        ‘Once I was in costume….Everyone in the room started crying; I can tell you that. It was very emotional. It became real… you know?’ said the star.

        ‘It’s about the things we haven’t seen, the moments when the cameras aren’t flashing or rolling, when Marilyn is not ‘on’,’ said the Cuban-born beauty.

        ‘It’s fiction. We don’t have proof this happened. But it fills the gaps in the things we already know with a version of events that we should at least consider.’

        In a press conference on Thursday at the Venice Film Festival, Ana told reporters that she felt Marilyn’s presence during filming of the fictionalized account of her life, insisting her spirit would let them know if she was happy or unhappy with the way things were going, according to Reuters.

        These are some quotes of Ana’s press conference: so why do Marylin’s ghost need to be with her and give her approval if it’s a fiction? Or does Ana need to rationalize the fact that her director made her do the most grotesque things under the guise of art and for an Oscar?
        I don’t understand anything about her rationale and the director of this film is crazy and super misogynistic. This film is an insult to Marilyn,just garbage. Why do we need a shot of her vagina or a fœtus talking to her( which is by the way anti abortion) or inventing being raped by JFK ?

  8. FhMom says:

    I’m not a fan of these pseudo biographies, like the Diana movie with Kristen Stewart, it’s an embellishment of someone’s life. Like a previous poster mentioned, Marilyns life wasn’t a constant horror movie, or at least I hope it wasn’t. Ana isn’t too interesting in interviews, and the Affleck stuff was so obvious and cringy.

    • SosaMarie says:

      Thé New Yorker did a review of the film and this is what the critic said: “The movie is ridiculously vulgar—the story of Monroe as if it were channelled through Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The character endures an overwhelming series of relentless torments that, far from arousing fear and pity, reflect a special kind of directorial sadism.”

  9. Sandrine says:

    I think Ana is beautiful and talented , but to act like the pap walks with Ben were invasive is laughable. They were staged to the point of being ridiculous. I’d like her a lot more if she’d just admit the pandemic lockdown hit as her career was gaining momentum and she had to do something to stay on people’s radar.

    • Dakota says:

      She was with Affleck in the midst of the global pandemic, strutting around LA dressed to the nines to “walk her dogs”. It really laughable that now she wants to be seen as a serious actor and is trying to cover up her clout chasing ways. She can say what she wants but her actions prove otherwise. I ain’t buying any of her BS. And this film is a crime to Marylin’s memory.It’s just sexual exploitation and she is crass to suggest that Marilyn ghost visited her and gave her permission.Ana is just full of herself

      • Nonu says:

        You’re 100000% right, Dakota!

      • Dot says:

        100% agree. I was really keen on her after “Knives Out”, but I’ve lost literally all respect for her after all this. It’s just gross to exploit someone’s very real suffering the way she (and the movie) have done.

      • Lizzie says:

        She really has thrown away a lot of the good will that she got via Knives Out between her Affleck pandemic antics and now this entire trashy film and press tour for it. She’s extremely thirsty and desperate to be a certain level of famous though so backlash won’t deter her from keep trying to attain that.

  10. Lizzie says:

    My opinion of her has soured even more because of the press tour for this abomination of what’s exploitative trauma porn they’re trying to pass off as a movie by calling it “art” Both Ana and the director’s comments about it are so OTT, disrespectful and frankly, gross. And please, she was eating up all the paparazzi attention she got while with Ben. Why is she acting like she wasn’t loving it and like we don’t all have eyes and saw her doing just that? A movie that as of now is sitting at a 49% critics rating and 42% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is as controversial as this one is is not getting any Oscar nominations.

    • Brousse says:

      Totally agree with you and I was neutral about Ana but she has been insufferable with this press tour.My God…
      I hope you’re right about Oscars nominations because when I see her applauded at Venice for 14 min and Sarah at Laineygossip talking about this garbage like she has a chance at the Oscars,I am fuming. Ana is just delusional with her trash director.
      Did you see her trash Adrian Lyne like she has some amazing filmography ?SMH