Andrew Dominik Blames ‘Blonde’ Backlash on Americans Wanting Marilyn Monroe Portrayed as “Empowered Woman”
Andrew Dominik has addressed the backlash against Blonde, his Marilyn Monroe biopic for Netflix which heavily divided public opinion after its world premiere in Venice.
Speaking at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia, the director said that the U.S. audiences had the strongest adverse reaction to the film — “they hated the movie!” — and claimed that when it came to iconic Americans such as Monroe, they only wanted to see a celebration.
“Now we’re living in a time where it’s important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman. That’s what they want to see,” he said. “And if you’re not showing them that, it upsets them.”
Instead, he said Blonde, which starred Ana de Armas as the iconic figure, was accused of exploiting Monroe.
“Which is kind of strange, because she’s dead. The movie doesn’t make any difference in one way or another,” he said. “What they really mean is that the film exploited their memory of her, their image of her, which is fair enough. But that’s the whole idea of the movie. It’s trying to take the iconography of her life and put it into service of something else, it’s trying to take things that you’re familiar with, and turning the meaning inside out. But that’s what they don’t want to see.”
As an Australian who came of age in the ’80s, when to “offend your audience was a solemn duty, to wrench them out of a complacency about things,” Dominik said he was actually “really pleased” that Blonde had “outraged so many people.”
He also claimed that American movies were getting “more conservative,” like a bedtime story where people already knew every word and any deviation would cause a reaction. “But I don’t want to make bedtime stories.”
Despite the backlash against Blonde, Dominik said that “tens of millions of people” watched the film on Netflix.
The Red Sea Film Festival runs through Nov. 10.
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