Ana de Armas channels Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming movie Blonde. And while, to some, that statement might just sound like praise for her performance, the star says it literally happened. Speaking to reporters at the Venice Film Festival where the film premiered, de Armas said that she felt Monroe’s presence while they were shooting the film—especially when the late icon didn’t approve of something.
Blonde is based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates, and while it focuses on Monroe and real people in her life, it is a work of fiction. In addition to Armas, the cast features Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller, Bobby Cannavale as Joe DiMaggio, and Julianne Nicholson as Gladys Pearl Baker, Monroe’s mother. The movie will hit Netflix on Sept. 28.
Read on to learn more about Blonde and to find out what de Armas had to say about believing that Monroe’s ghost made herself known on the set.
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At the Venice Film Festival, de Armas told reporters that she believes Monroe was literally present on the shoot.
“I truly believe that she was very close to us. She was with us,” the 34-year-old star said, according to Reuters. She also said that Monroe showed her approval and disapproval by making things happen. “I think she was happy. She would also throw things off the wall sometimes and get mad if she didn’t like something. Maybe this sounds very mystical, but it is true,” she continued. “We all felt it.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2019 (when Blonde was shot), de Armas said, “It was the most intense work I’ve ever done as an actress.” She continued, “It took me a year to prepare for that—research and accent and everything you can imagine. Reading material, and talking to [director] Andrew Dominik for months, and getting ready to start. It was three months of shooting nonstop—like, a crazy schedule.”
Now, she says that she felt Monroe with her throughout. “She was all I thought about, she was all I dreamt about, she was all I could talk about, she was with me and it was beautiful,” de Armas said in Venice.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that de Armas felt the presence of Monroe considering where filming of Blonde took place. As reported by The Guardian, Dominik told reporters at the festival, “We started shooting the movie on the anniversary of [Monroe’s] death. It was not planned. We were shooting in the very apartment she lived in with her mother. The room she dies in is the room she died in. Her dust is everywhere in Los Angeles. It definitely took on elements of being like a seance.”
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This isn’t the first time the star of a biopic has said that the real person they portrayed was holding their hand during filming. One recent example is Kristen Stewart, who played Princess Diana in last year’s Spencer.
“I felt some spooky, spiritual feelings making this movie. Even if I was just fantasizing. I felt like there were moments where I kind of got the sign-off,” Stewart told the Los Angeles Times. She continued, “She felt so alive to me when I was making this movie, even if it’s all between the ears and it was just a fantasy of mine. But there were moments where my body and mind would forget she was dead. And suddenly, I would just have an image of what happened.”
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