Blonde hair will undoubtedly be the event of the cinematic season. In the making for nearly fifteen years, the adaptation by Australian director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) of the imaginary biography of Marilyn Monroe written by the great American novelist Joyce Carol Oates will be released on Netflix on September 28.
The platform unveiled last week the first images of the film which features Cuban actress Ana de Armas in the role of the Hollywood star as well as Adrian Brody in that of playwright Arthur Miller. Previously the film will be unveiled at the Venice Film Festival where it appears in official competition and presented in French preview at the Deauville American Film Festival in early September. And he is already a serious candidate for the Oscars.
Release delayed by artistic discrepancies
However, this project almost never saw the light of day as it came up against both financial and artistic vicissitudes. Fascinated by the novel, which paints a psychological portrait of the star, the director had to wait ten years to recover the rights to adapt the book, which was first sold to CBS, which made it into a TV movie with Poppy Montgomery. Then, filming, which was supposed to start in 2011 with Naomi Watts in the title role and an estimated budget of more than $20 million, was postponed several times. Despite the investment of actor Brad Pitt through his production company and a casting change in 2014 – Jessica Chastain was then approached for the role – the film encountered financing problems.
It finally fell into the hands of Netflix in 2016, which agreed to distribute it, and was shot in 2019 with actress Ana de Armas. But differences of opinion between the director and the platform which blames him for too little dialogue and too raw sex scenes – leading to a ban on the film for those under 17 in the United States – delay its release. According to the American press, Netflix would then have qualified it as “vague and obtuse arthouse film”.
It must be said that Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, far from the traditional biopic, is an exploration of the star’s childhood traumas and how she drowned the wounds in alcohol, drugs, sex and medication. . A very dark vision of the actress’s discomfort. “ Blonde hair is a film for all the unloved children in the world, explained Andrew Dominik in an interview. The whole idea of the film is to show a drama of childhood, and how this divides the adult between his public self and his private self. » The novelist, who was able to see images of the film, said on her Twitter account that she had found it “surprising, brilliant, disturbing and surprisingly feminist in its interpretation”.