The estate of Marilyn Monroe Ana de Armas has come to the defense of Ana de Armas after her accent was criticized in her portrayal of Monroe in an upcoming biopic.
The film Blonde, based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, covers Monroe’s rise to fame. It is directed by Andrew Dominik and will be released by Netflix on September 28.
When the trailer for the film was released in late July, some viewers said they could hear hints of De Armas’ Spanish accent as she portrayed Monroe’s famous breathy tone. De Armas was born in Cuba and acted in Spain before moving to Hollywood.
In the an interview to the Times last year, De Armas spoke of the struggle to perfect Monroe’s accent, saying it took nine months of dialect training.
“It was a lot of torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried,” she said.
Marc Rosen, entertainment president of the Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which owns the Monroe estate, defended the casting.
“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon that transcends generations and history,” he said.
“Any actor who steps into that role knows they have big shoes to fill. Based on the trailer alone, Ana seems to be a great casting choice as she embodies Marilyn’s glamour, humanity and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the full movie!”
De Armas added that Dominik, the director, was confident in her ability to portray Monroe after one audition, but that she had to “test everyone else”.
“The producers. The money people. I always have people I need to convince. But I knew I could do it. Marilyn’s playing was groundbreaking. Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I missed it so bad,” she said.
In a separate interview with Netflix’s Tail, De Armas said that she “read Joyce’s novel, studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, films – anything I could lay my hands on. Each scene is inspired by an existing photograph. We would love to discuss every detail in the photo and discuss what was happening there.”
Brad Pitt, whose production company Plan B is producing the film, praised De Armas amid criticism of her taste in the film.
“She’s amazing in,” Pitt told the New York Post. “That’s a tough dress to fill. It was 10 years in the making. It wasn’t until we got Ana that we could get him across the finish line.”