The first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic, Blonde, has just dropped. The film will star Ana de Armas as the pop culture icon, and this short teaser trailer is the first time we’ve got a glimpse at her performance (which may be strong enough to vault Blonde onto the best Netflix movies list).
The preview opens with Monroe seemingly praying in a dressing room while having her makeup done. It then flashes through several shots, some in monochrome some in full color. We also glimpse a recreation of the iconic image of Monroe in a white dress standing over a steam grate from 1955’s The Seven Year Itch. The trailer ends with Monroe breaking into a smile before starting to laugh, but just as the trailer cuts her grin seems to falter.
This teaser trailer definitely sets the mood, but it doesn’t reveal much of what we can expect from the full feature. We do know the film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. The official Netflix plot synopsis gives us a few more clues: “Blonde boldly reimagines the complicated life of icon Marilyn Monroe. Blurring the lines of fact and fiction, the film artfully explores the tension between her public and private life.”
Based on this description, the film from director Andrew Dominik may not be a straight biopic, it could also mix in surreal elements in an attempt to explore Monroe’s headspace rather than just depicting the events of her life. Perhaps it will end up being somewhat similar to 2021’s Spencer which explored Princess Diana’s existential crisis as she considered divorcing Prince Charles through fantastical dreamlike sequences.
This approach would make a lot of sense as Joyce Carol Oates has previously claimed that her book is very much a work of fiction and shouldn't be classified as a traditional biography. Presumably, the film adaptation will have a similar relationship to the actual facts of Monroe's complicated life.
While Blonde isn’t scheduled to release on Netflix until September 23, it’s already become one for the streaming history books. That’s because it is the first Netflix movie to be rated NC-17, which is the highest rating the Motion Picture Association of America can dish out. NC-17 movies are extremely rare as many theaters won’t carry them, and so studios typically edit films to ensure they don’t receive more than an R-rating.
However, in this case, it seems that Netflix is willing to back Dominik’s vision and is allowing the film onto its platform with the highly controversial rating intact. Exactly why it’s been branded NC-17 isn’t yet known beyond the fact the film contains “sexual content”, the specifics of this content are currently a mystery. Nevertheless, we can safely say Blonde won’t be one to watch with the whole family on movie night.
Alongside de Armas as Marilyn Monroe the film will also star Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Julianne Nicholson, Caspar Phillipson (As John F. Kennedy, no less), Toby Huss and Sara Paxton. It’s scheduled to hit Netflix on September 23, and is sure to grab plenty of headlines when it does — Monroe herself would be proud.