Andrew Dominik wasn’t expecting his Marilyn Monroe drama Blonde to become Netflix’s first movie ever rated NC-17. But he wasn’t about to tone it down, either.
“We live in a world where ‘Wet Ass Pussy’ is, like, the number one song,” he tells MovieMaker. “This sort of Eisenhower morality doesn’t really seem to bear much resemblance to what’s going on in the world. But I feel like anything that’s showing a woman in sexual situations is sort of something that — nobody wants to look under that hood.”
Our full cover story interview with Dominik and Ana de Armas will run in the next issue of MovieMaker Magazine, on newsstands soon.
“It wasn’t like I set out to get an NC-17 rating, and I don’t even think the rating is deserved,” Dominik adds. “I think we color within the lines… I was kind of surprised that they would consider that to be worthy of an NC-17.”
The film, which stars Ana de Armas in the role of Marilyn Monroe, is based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates and tells the story of the movie star’s often unpleasant life. It is peppered with quite a bit of nudity, multiple sex scenes, rape and physical abuse. But Dominik wasn’t willing to omit any of it in order to scale the film’s rating back to an R. And he completely disagrees with the “less is more” approach.
“I kind of feel like more is more,” he says. “It was also just the way that [Blonde] was written. Very much what I’m trying to do is, I’m trying to translate Joyce’s picture of the world, and it was pretty feverish and intense. It all just came from my feelings reading the book. I mean, I don’t really want to put stuff off-screen unless there’s a reason to do so.”
“Why sort of tone it down?” he adds. “It’s cowardly in some way.”
Considering the deeply artistic nature of the film, de Armas was also surprised it was deemed NC-17.
“I personally was a little shocked when we got the rating,” de Armas tells MovieMaker. “With all the content that we have nowadays, and everything on TV, all the access that we have to streaming and all of that, I can assure you, if you compare Blonde to other shows or films, it is not even close to the amount of nudity or sexual content or abuse.”
For de Armas, filming the nude scenes in particular was more about showing Monroe’s vulnerability than anything else.
“This movie is, I think, a very feminist movie in the sense of, we just show the story of a woman the way it is. The moments of nudity and sex and all of that, it shows her vulnerability, and the times that she really enjoyed that sexual encounter and the times that she didn’t — and her alone at home stripped down to nothing,” she says. “I wasn’t going to shy away from that just because I had to be naked in the film. I thought we were doing this for a bigger thing. Like, it’s bigger than that. What we’re saying with this film is more than just being naked in the scene.”
Blonde arrives on Netflix on Sept. 28 and is now in select theaters.
Main Image: Ana de Armas and Andrew Dominick talk behind the scenes of Blonde, courtesy of Netflix, photo credit: Matt Kennedy.