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Ana de Armas Says Playing Marilyn Monroe Was "Groundbreaking"

Ana de Armas tells Vanity Fair why it was so important for her to star in Netflix's Blonde.

Many actresses before her have taken on the responsibility of slipping into the perfectly coiffed bob and infamous white dress of the one and only Marilyn Monroe. But for 31-year-old Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas, playing the iconic star in the upcoming Netflix movie Blonde is a particularly noteworthy experience. As a Cuban-Spanish actress who's been very vocal about the need for more Latinx representation in Hollywood, getting the part felt like a huge step forward, not only for her but for the entire Latinx community.

"I only had to audition for Marilyn once and [director Andrew Dominik] said, 'It's you,' but I had to audition for everyone else. The producers. The money people. I always have people I needed to convince," De Armas told Vanity Fair in her March cover story. "But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so badly."

Thankfully, she blew them all away. Her Knives Out co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, whose father, Tony Curtis, starred with Monroe in the 1959 film Some Like It Hot, told Vanity Fair that she was stunned when De Armas showed her the screen tests. "I dropped to the floor," Curtis said. "I couldn't believe it. Ana was completely gone. She was Marilyn."

Blonde, which does not yet have a release date, will be a fictionalized take on the life of the legendary femme fatale based on the eponymous 2000 novel by Joyce Carol Oates. And, fun fact, now we know De Armas's dog, Elvis, will also star in Blonde as Mafia—AKA Maf—the dog that Frank Sinatra famously gave Monroe.

But De Armas, of course, also connects with the Hollywood icon on a deeper level.

"You see that famous photo of her and she is smiling in the moment, but that's just a slice of what she was really going through at the time," De Armas said.

Indeed, Dominik told Collider in Dec. 2016 that Blonde would be a "film about the human condition." "It tells the story of how a childhood trauma shapes an adult who's split between a public and a private self," he said, noting that he believes it will be "one of the 10 best movies ever made."

"I have never worked more closely with a director than I worked with Andrew," De Armas told Vanity Fair. "Yes, I have had collaborative relationships, but to get phone calls at midnight because he has an idea and he can't sleep and all of a sudden you can't sleep for the same reason…"

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Meanwhile, in addition to Blonde's release on Netflix at some point in 2020, De Armas has an even bigger year ahead. She's playing the new Bond girl in No Time to Die, starring in the Netflix biopic Sergio, and playing opposite Ben Affleck in the upcoming erotic thriller Deep Water.

"She is remarkable," Curtis told Vanity Fair. "She's going to be like Sophia Loren, one of those rare crossover worldwide sensations."

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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