Ana de Armas Addresses Blonde Controversy: The Film Unabashedly Pointed a Finger at Audiences on Purpose

A diamond may be a girl’s best friend but Ana de Armas knew “Blonde” wasn’t going to make fans easily.

The controversial reimagining of Marilyn Monroe was written and directed by Andrew Dominik and quickly caused debates over the portrayal of the late film star, abortion, and sexual assault. “Blonde” debuted at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival where it received a 14-minute standing ovation. The NC-17 rated Netflix film stateside, however, was met with less than open arms.

“When we premiered the movie in Venice, or San Sebastián, [the reaction was much warmer than the reception was in the U.S.]. Of course, the reaction that gets the most attention is the one in the U.S., but that wasn’t the whole experience,” de Armas told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s hard to hear these reactions, but you can always go back to what you experienced, and why you did it, and the reasons why you were attracted to the project. That is not going to change. You have the director, and you have other actors that you can always talk to.”

The Best Actress nominee continued, “As hard as it is to hear when people don’t like your film, it is what it is. It was not a movie that was made to please people or to make people like it. It is a hard movie to watch.”

De Armas admitted the “shocking” script “felt like a horror movie” when she first read it.

“I think one thing that I had that helped me was actually not being American. All this information that people have of Marilyn, [they] just have a very specific narrative about her life and who she was. I didn’t have all that,” de Armas added, previously revealing she had little knowledge of Monroe prior to being cast. “[‘Blonde’] is a shocking way of telling her side of the story. I thought it was really interesting and real.”

De Armas said, “I have watched movies about Marilyn before, and they’ve always felt in the same tone — repetitive, following the things that we already know [about] her as a movie star. That intimacy, that private, deeper side of her in her psychology, or trauma, which is what Blonde is about, that was missing for me. When I read [‘Blonde’], I was like, ‘Oh, this is it. What I’m reading makes sense to me for someone whose life ended in a very tragic way, so soon.’ To have that ending, you need to fill up the gaps between all the beauty and the glamour and the superstar story that we know — there were pieces that were missing.”

De Armas responded to criticisms that “Blonde” is disrespectful to Monroe’s memory, saying, “I don’t think the movie speaks badly about her a bit. I think it’s the opposite. I think it speaks badly about the environment and the industry, and that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes for other people in the business.”

And audiences may not be able to handle that, according to de Armas.

“I feel like the movie also makes the audience feel like participants. We contributed at the time, and we still contribute, in the exploitation of actors, people in the public eye. We, the audience, do this,” she said. “And I feel like it’s possible that some people have felt like [someone] pointed a finger at [them].”

Director Dominik previously said that he was “not concerned with being tasteful” and that “Blonde” should not be looked at as a “demon” film that is anti-feminist.

“I actually see that as a measure of the film’s success, that it inspires that kind of reaction,” Dominik told The Wrap in September 2022. “I think it’s very difficult for people to step outside of the stories they carry inside themselves and see things of their own volition. And I think that’s really what the movie is about: the dangers of that.”

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