Marilyn Monroe’s estate defends Ana de Armas over biopic accent criticism

Cuban-Spanish actor’s accent in movie Blonde disparaged but ABC says she ‘captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity and vulnerability’

The estate of Marilyn Monroe has come to the defense of Ana de Armas after criticism of her accent in her portrayal of Monroe in a forthcoming biopic.

The movie 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 28 September.

When the trailer for the film was released in late July, some watchers said they could hear hints of De Armas’s Spanish accent in her rendering of Monroe’s famous breathy tone. De Armas was born in Cuba and acted in Spain before moving to Hollywood.

In an interview with the Times last year, De Armas spoke about the struggle to perfect Monroe’s accent, saying it took nine months of dialect coaching.

“It was a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried,” she said.

Marc Rosen, president of entertainment of Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which owns Monroe’s estate, defended the casting.

“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon that transcends generations and history,” he said.

“Any actor that steps into that role knows they have big shoes to fill. Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Ana was a great casting choice as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the film in its entirety!”

De Armas also said Dominik, the director, was confident in her ability to portray Monroe after one audition, but she “had to audition for everyone else”.

“The producers. The money people. I always have people I needed to convince. But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so badly,” she said.

In a separate interview with Netflix Queue, De Armas said she “read Joyce’s novel, studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, films – anything I could get my hands on. Every scene is inspired by an existing photograph. We’d pore over every detail in the photo and debate what was happening in it.”

Brad Pitt, whose production company Plan B is producing the movie, also praised De Armas amid criticism of her accent in the film.

“She’s phenomenal in it,” 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 found Ana that we could get it across the finish line.”


Lauren Aratani

The GuardianTramp

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