“Blonde” was the first Netflix production rated NC-17 by the Motion Picture Association of America. The rating generated considerable buzz, drawing strong reactions from audiences, cast, and crew alike. What is an NC-17 rating? It indicates a film unsuitable for anyone below the age of 17.
Ana and the creators maintained that explicit content was integral to staying true to the story. An essential element in unraveling the culture of exploitation within which Marilyn Monroe’s story takes place. Due to the rating, the film’s limited theatrical release also had a restricted audience.
Ana Took the Role Seriously
Ana made headlines not just for her performance in “Blonde,” but also for her unusual preparation methods. She spoke with AnOther Magazine about when she and the crew wrote messages to Marilyn Monroe. "We went to the cemetery and put it on her grave," she said.
She went on telling that they were all asking for Monroe's permission, in a way. They all felt like they had a huge responsibility and wanted to do their best.
"Blonde" Receives Love and Backlash
“Blonde” premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it received a 14-minute standing ovation. Despite the praise for Ana’s acting, the film received significant backlash. Viewers and celebrities called out the film for wildly inaccurate events and cashing in on Marilyn’s legacy.
During press runs, Ana had built a narrative that Marilyn would have been proud of the film. So far, very few people agree. Since its release, audiences have panned the creators for fetishizing a dead woman’s trauma and legacy.
She Was Not the First Choice to Play Marilyn
Playing Marilyn Monroe is every Hollywood actress’s dream. Although Ana ended up becoming the only right choice for the role, she allegedly was not the first choice. She faced competition from the most talented actors in the industry.
The film’s creators initially considered Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts to play the iconic star. One of the points of contention in casting Ana was her accent. However, none of the other actresses made the cut for reasons unknown.
The Things She Did to Bring Marilyn to Life
According to a Netflix article, Ana started seeing Marilyn Monroe in her dreams early on in the making of the film. That is how seriously she took the responsibility. Observers say the actor was deeply-immersed in embodying the role. So much so that she even conversed with Marilyn in her sleep.
Call her crazy or committed, the deep empathy translated into Ana’s splendid performance in the film. One can fault the movie, not Ana’s acting.