After years of being in the works, Andrew Dominik‘s Blonde is finally on the cusp of being a reality, with the Netflix film expected to debut sometime this year. While we have yet to get any footage or official looks at the Ana de Armas-starring film, the project has already made headlines for being the first Netflix project to earn an NC-17 rating for “some sexual content.” This is the highest possible rating that the Motion Picture Association of America can give to a film, and usually signifies that the project contains adult content that is only suitable for viewers ages 18 and older. In a recent interview with The Playlist, Dominik addressed the NC-17 rating, and indicated that he was surprised by it — but understood it, given the circumstances of the film’s release.
“Yeah, that was a bit of a surprise, that it got that rating,” Dominik revealed. “It was really #MeToo that allowed Blonde to happen. It was a gold moment where you had to believe a woman’s perspective no matter what. Whereas before I think people were really uncomfortable with how Blonde portrayed certain American sacred cows. And then it became a gold moment where it didn’t matter if they were sacred cows or not, and that’s why it got made, what allowed it to happen in the end. Here’s the thing, though, it’s not like I’m unsympathetic to their point of view, you know? NC-17 is not a good thing for your film to have, you can’t be on certain billboards and you can’t advertise on certain things and there are all kinds of restrictions that get put on you cause of that rating. So, to get an NC-17 is not good, you know, and it’s not something that I wanted the film to have. Also, I don’t think it’s something that the film deserves, it’s not really reflective of community standards, I think it’s more of a political thing.”
“Well, Blonde is going to have some kind of theatrical release,” Dominik added. “I mean, you can’t have a billboard, and…what I don’t understand is why Netflix signed to the MPAA signatory anyway. I mean, there must be some advantage. I just can’t understand why anyone would put themselves under that censorship if they didn’t have to, but… you know, truthfully, I probably shouldn’t speculate on that stuff cause I don’t really [know enough about it.]”
Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel of the same name, Blonde is a fictionalized take on Monroe’s life, which saw her becoming a cultural icon as an actress, model, and singer up until her death in 1962. The film is written and directed by Andrew Dominik, who previously worked on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly. The project has been in the works in some form or fashion since 2010, with Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain originally lined up to star at different points and time.
De Armas was cast in March of 2019, with production beginning that August. Cast members on the project also include Adrian Brody as Arthur Miller, Bobby Cannavale as Joe DiMaggio, Caspar Phillipson as John F. Kennedy, Julianne Nicholson as Gladys Pearl Baker, Toby Huss as Alan “Whitey” Snyder, Xavier Samuel as Charles Chaplin Jr., and Luke Whoriskey as James Dean.
In the years since production on Blonde commenced, rumors have swirled about the project, with some speculating that Dominik was clashing with Netflix over the final cut of the movie. In an interview with ScreenDaily earlier this year, Dominik confirmed that wasn’t the case, and that his hope was for the film to retain its NC-17 rating.
“It’s a demanding movie,” Dominik explained. “If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the f-cking audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office.”
“It’s an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it’s kind of what you want, right?” Dominik added. “I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.”
Blonde is expected to be released by Netflix at a later date.