Sunday, December 4

Andrew Dominik: “Ana de Armas is pure instinct in front of the camera. I love her”


Updated

A few days before the release of the most anticipated film of recent years, the director of ‘Blonde’ reviews the long production process, his work with actress Ana de Armas in the role of Marilyn Monroe and the problems of a premiere on Netflix riddled with rumors and hoaxes

The director Andrew Dominikposa with the actress Ana de Armas at the presentation of ‘Blonde’ in San Sebastian.John SmithEFE

A Andrew Dominik (Wellington, New Zealand, 1967) you have to yell at him. He says so and her obvious deafness. “Grteme”, she orders without blush or modesty after the usual good morning. And it is curious that this is the usual form of communication with the director of the film that has sparked the most rumors (many of them heard in a whisper, almost secretly) in recent years. ‘Blonde‘ is finally coming to Netflix next week. And it does so three years after being perfectly finished, 14 since the project began to cook and on the back of 22 million dollars in total spending. Based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates on Marilyn Monroe, it was said that it was a dark, lewd, almost pornographic portrait of the totem by definition untouchable. Its premiere at the last Venice Film Festival and its revival Saturday in San Sebastian they confirm while denying several issues: a) it is a huge film that is as rigorous as it is spectacular, both intimate and mythological; b) light overcomes darkness in the portrait of a woman harassed by her childhood, and c) Ana de Armas is, at the moment, more Marilyn than Marilyn, more Norma Jeane than Norma Jeane. As is already law in his filmography of the director of ‘chopper‘ either ‘The murder of Jesse James by the cowardly Robert Ford’ what matters is the perfect description of the rise and fall of the myths.

If you think so, we’ll start with what concerns us: Ana de Armas. How was her relationship with her?
I love Ana. I love her. From the first moment she proved to be the best accomplice. Contrary to the type of acting that was carried out in Marilyn’s time, Ana is above all pure intuition, pure instinct. I mean, the whole thing about using her own memories and personal experiences to build her character, the method thing, it doesn’t go with her. Everything she does on set is the work of her imagination. Ana instinctively understood what she was looking for. She is always very confident in her abilities and confident in herself. She is not afraid and she is very flexible. She is a person who likes to play in front of the camera, who always offers you several possibilities and many of them are contradictory. We must not lose sight of the fact that Marilyn was a person with a very dim idea of ​​herself; she was constantly looking for herself and, as an actress, she always tried to transform herself into what another person wanted. It was really fun to work with an Ana, an actress who is constantly challenging you.
Why an actress whose native language is not English for the role?
I never thought the accent mattered at all. Those who want to hear it will hear it. But for me, it’s perfect. If those who say something did not know that she is Cuban, they would shut up. I have heard much worse American accents from native English speakers.
Why Marilyn?
Is not a biopic absolutely. I don’t care as much about his life as the myth. The myth that Marilyn embodies is universal and has no time. The film truly speaks of us. We all have a private self, a self that is within our strength, and a much more desirable public self that can be more easily loved than the real one. The true plot of the film is the insurmountable distance between the two. It’s about that and about the very nature of any myth: we all see the world through a story we tell ourselves, even now, about what’s going on.
I get lost.
Marilyn’s main myth is a rescue fantasy. She is a figure that needs to be rescued. And that is true whether the book is written by Gloria Steinem or by Norman Mailer. They are different books, but the impulse is the same. Y ‘Blonde‘, the movie, is no different. I would say more, the negative response of a part of the critics to the film is no different. They are also trying to rescue Marilyn from me. I am convinced that this is a good way to measure the success of the film. On the other hand, the dark side of the rescue fantasy is a punishment fantasy.
And there is perhaps between the myth of Kennedy turned into a rapist in the film…
I am not a provocateur. It wasn’t my idea. It is Joyce’s vision. Marilyn separated from Arthur Miller and committed suicide a year later. What happened in the middle was the Kennedys. The author reflects it with all the crudeness in the book and that is how I have transferred it to the film. But be careful, it’s just a movie.
What is true about the fight between Netflix in the final cut of the film?
A. When you edit a film, the most you do is cut and discard things. Films are nothing until they take shape on the editing table. In the case of ‘Blonde‘ was especially tricky because the film actually works like a piece of music. There is no plot that guides the rhythm, the rhythm is given by the order of the images and the layout of the soundtrack. It’s a film that is actually constantly searching for its own limit. On the other hand, we live in a time in which what can or cannot be said, what is canceled or not, what is abuse or not, is under permanent discussion. It is logical that a company that invests a lot of money is very worried and it is logical that it puts all the pressure it can. You don’t want to be wrong for lack of caution.
The actress Ana de Armas at the presentation
The actress Ana de Armas at the presentation of ‘Blonde’.Alvaro BarrientosAP

What does it mean that a movie like ‘Blonde‘ is from Netflix?
His existence. It means that it exists. They have been the only ones willing to pay for it. And I have to say that, despite everything, they let me make the film I wanted. Despite the anxieties, it is the first film I have made in which I have not had to make concessions of any kind. On the other hand, the fact that it is not going to be seen in the cinema is not good, but it is not all bad either. There is a certain advantage, because the NC 17 (Near Adult Film) rating would be a much bigger drama if the film were to have a life in theaters. Because, at least in the United States, if the film is NC 17, it can’t be shown in many places. There are rules about who will carry your advertising and who will not. But on Netflix, that doesn’t matter. Also, being a long movie as it is, you can always stop it to go smoke, drink or go to the bathroom.
Did you fear at some point that the film would fall by the wayside, that it would not end?
There were many moments of uncertainty in the 14 years of preparation. She nearly fell over a thousand times. But once filming started, everything went ahead. Nothing to do with everything that has been said.
In all that the production has lasted, many things have happened, including the MeToo, how did it affect the film?
Positively, before MeToo, no one thought that a film about a woman’s trauma would interest anyone, after that, yes. He helped me find financing. But ‘Blonde‘ it’s always been the same movie
What happened to the gory oral sex scene that was talked about so much?
Any. It was never shot and was never in the script. It was one of those rumors that are thrown around to hurt and get ‘clicks‘. It’s all because of the ‘clickbait‘. I speak in interviews, it is transcribed badly and then what happens happens. It is also true that thanks to all this and these lurid and false rumors, the marketing of the film has done itself. It’s good for the waves of passion and hate that all of this raises.

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