Ana de Armas said she and everyone making Blonde felt the presence of Marilyn Monroe, the tragic star de Armas plays in the Andrew Dominik film. She believes Monroe approved of their work.
At a Venice Film Festical Q&A about the film Thursday, a reporter asked her how she embodied Monroe and protected herself from the Hollywood icon’s self-destructiveness. De Armas gave a response she acknowledged might sound “very mystical.”
“So many things happened to us, all of us, during the shoot. It was very interesting. I truly believe that she was very close to us. She was with us. I feel like all of us felt so much respect and responsibility to do good to her and to honor her. Everyone knew that we were paying her service in a way. We were doing something bigger than us, something more special than just a film about her.”
De Armas continued: “She was all I thought about. She was all I dreamed about. She was all I could talk about. She was with me. And it was beautiful. I think she was happy. I think she was also throwing things off the wall sometimes. … And this was true – these things happened.”
The sense was especially strong when Blonde filmed in Monroe’s former home.
“Being in the same place that she was, filming in her house, I felt a strong sensation, there was something in the air. I think she was approving what we were doing. Maybe this sounds very mystical, or something but it was true. We felt it.”
Dominik said a pre-production snafu meant the first day of production on Blonde was inadvertently set on August 4, 2019, the 57th anniversary of the Hollywood icon’s death in 1962 at age 36. Adding to the eeriness: the production was shooting inside the same home where Norma Jean Baker once lived with her mother (played by Julianne Nicholson in the film).
“It was the anniversary of her death — that was not planned. I realized the day before or something like that,” Dominik said. “And when we were shooting that first day, we were shooting in the very apartment that she lived in with her mother… the apartment that you see in the movie is the actual house. And the room she dies in, is the room she died in. Her dust is everywhere in Los Angeles. And it definitely sort of took on elements of being like a seance.”
Adrien Brody, who plays Monroe’s third husband, Arthur Miller, said de Armas “channeled her.”
“The first day of filming I went home with this sense of awe that I had the privilege of actually working with Marilyn Monroe,” Brody said. “It’s not that I’m jaded, but I’ve been working for many years, I’ve worked my entire lifetime, it’s very weird that I can say that someone transported me into another time or place.”
Blonde arrives on Netflix on Sept. 28.
Main image: Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller and Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde.