Naomi Watts to Play Marilyn Monroe in Adaptation of 'Blonde'

May 13, 2010
Source: ScreenDaily

Marilyn Monroe & Naomi Watts

Back in December we heard about a film called My Week with Marilyn, which isn't so much a biopic of the legendary Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe, but rather a focus on a very short amount of time she spent in London while filming Laurence Olivier's The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957, as told in Colin Clark's book. However, it looks like a more definitive biopic about the late actress is on the horizon as ScreenDaily is now reporting Naomi Watts is set to play the blonde starlet in an Andrew Domink (of The Assassination of Jesse James) directed adaptation of a fake memoir (we'll explain more below) appropriately titled Blonde.

The Joyce Carol Oates book in question is referred to as a fake memoir because it takes the liberty of being told from the point of view of Monroe with the names of certain well-known male suitors changed to vague descriptions including The Ex-Athlete (Joe DiMaggio), The Playwright (Arthur Miller) and The President (John F. Kennedy). Though this is, for all intensive purposes, a work of fiction, apparently this is a very accurate, eye-opening and emotional look into the life of one of Hollywood's most famous blondes. Here's what Publisher's Weekly says about the book:

Dramatic, provocative and unsettlingly suggestive, Blonde is as much a bombshell as its protagonist, the legendary Marilyn Monroe. Writing in highly charged, impressionistic prose, Oates creates a striking and poignant portrait of the mythic star and the society that made and failed her. In a five-part narrative corresponding to the stages of Monroe's life, Oates renders the squalid circumstances of Norma Jeane's upbringing: the damage inflicted by a psychotic mother and the absence of an unknown (and perpetually yearned for) father, and the desolation of four years in an orphanage and betrayal in a foster home. She reviews the young Monroe's rocky road to stardom, involving sexual favors to studio chiefs who thought her sluttish, untalented and stupid, while they reaped millions from her movies; she conveys the essence of Monroe's three marriages and credibly establishes Monroe's insatiable need for security and love. To a remarkable extent, she captures Monroe's breathy voice and vulnerable stutter, and the almost schizoid personality that produced her mercurial behavior.

After seeing her in certain scenes in Peter Jackson's King Kong, there's no doubt that Watts has the looks to pull off a Marilyn Monroe biopic, and though she may have over-emphasized the period dialect of the time (of course, this could very well have been done purposely to make the film feel like an older movie) I have no doubt of her talent for portraying Monroe either. I'm surprised there hasn't been a more high profile biopic about Marilyn Monroe until now. Various films have featured her as a minor character and there have been plenty of made-for TV films focusing on her, but as far as I can recall, this will be the first feature film about her. Should be something to look forward to. What do you guys think of Watts as Marilyn Monroe?

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Oh Alex. How can you say there's NO argument that it ISN'T accurate? Being a "fake" memoir in itself establishes innacuracy in the stories finite detail.

Quanah on May 13, 2010


@ #1, Oh Quanah, when will you start reading the byline of our stories to notice when Alex Billington doesn't write a story. While it is a fake memoir, it is said to be very accurate in it's re-telling of Monroe's life. Surely with this biography of sorta there's bound to be some inaccuracies as there are with any recounting of a person's life. Being accurate does not mean it's perfect.

Ethan Anderton on May 13, 2010


This could be haunting if it's done by andrew dominick.He pays strict attention to detail and it always pays off. I remeber leaving the theatre afterJesse james and feeling disturbed by the fact that i couldn't get it out of my head. Very effective film

indyjack86 on May 13, 2010


I think that Naomi Watts has the talent to pull it off, but I was rather looking forward to the part going to someone who looks a little more like her, body wise. Maybe a little more curvier

Seraphine on May 13, 2010


wow, I can totally see her playing monroe, however, I would have sworn it would be lohan after that one photo shoot she did, as monroe.

chlordane on May 13, 2010


Yeah I'm in. Will Kennedy make a cameo?

Xerxex on May 13, 2010


I love Naomi Watts. Will see it no matter what.

Mikeg on May 13, 2010


I like Naomi Watts, but I'm not buying it. She looks nothing like Marilyn. Just look at the two pictures with this story - the mouth, nose, face shape and eyebrows aren't anywhere close. And unless she packs on some pounds in the right places, it won't work. You can buy Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles or Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash because they were musicians, not models or movie stars. It's going to be near impossible to pull off someone whose beauty and physical features are so iconic. Lindsey Lohan is a better fit physically - but she's too cracked out to trust with any role.

Hmmm on May 13, 2010


Watts can definitely pull it off but she'll have to gain at least 50 lbs in order to get the curvy body....she's a stick figure most of the time.

Cmurder on May 13, 2010


Agreeing with 8 and 9: This is something completely different. And Naomi, as adorable as she is, needs alot of physical preparation for this role. On another note, Lohan could have made a really clean come back with this role.

Cracky on May 13, 2010


I agree with "Cmurder" & "Hmmm", yes she would be great at the role but would need to put on a lot of weight, Naomi is a stick (no offence), they had to paint out her bony chest in King Kong in some shots! Will be interesting to see how it all turns out 🙂

Clare on May 13, 2010


#3 Bullshit. Apparently you need to read what Alex wrote again. You may also want to read about the book, or the book itself (which I tried and couldn't even get halfway through due to the silly premise). The book IS in FACT fiction. Here's the definition of fiction in case you were confused: 1. The class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, esp. in prose form. Did you catch the "imaginative" part? I hope so. That would conflict with the idea that "there's no argument that this is a very accurate"...would it? None of what was written in the book was based on actual fact, but a great deal of speculation and hearsay--with the exception of a few things: Marilyn was alive at one point. She had blonde hair. She was married to Joe Dimaggio. She was married to the playwright Arthur Miller. The JFK relationship is still pure speculation to this day, but because it's been so over publicized people take it as fact. This artistic film may be an enoyable watch due to the actress and director, but let's not get confused and wrapped up in the idea it's a close representation to the truth, especially when the 700 page reference material has been described as FICTION. See above for definition of fiction if you're still confused.

Quanah on May 13, 2010


By Alex, I meant Ethan. Typo. Get over it.

Quanah on May 13, 2010


Arent we missing the obvious choice for this role!!! Christina Hendrix is Marilyn Monroe and anyone who disagrees needs to have thier head examined!!

jeffrey on May 13, 2010


Shes not nearly as hot as Marilyn was. I really don't like the casting for this one. Scarlett Johanson would have a better shot. Not sure I'd even like her either, but not Naomi Watts!

Bauzer on May 13, 2010


@ #12, Quanah, Tell you what. Since the statement in question is hyperbolic in nature (because obviously there's at least some argument), I will change it. But in my gathering information about the book, I have found that the book is, as I said, "very accurate." Once again, this does not mean that everything in the book should be accepted as fact, but that a large majority of the book's events and such are predicated on facts and have been regarded as being close to the truth. I can understand your thirst and apparent need to have everything 100% correct, but a biopic, let alone biography, will always have inaccuracies, and an inevitable amount of speculative writing. The book in question must be referred to as fiction because it is written as a memoir that Marilyn Monroe did not write, so calling it non-fiction would be a lie in that sense. However, that does not mean that the book itself is entirely inaccurate, wrong and without fact. Now I can understand your distaste for the book (after all you tried to read it and it didn't jive with you, that's fine), but I'm having difficulty understanding how my apparently exaggerated claim for accuracy in the book is in anyway different than your disregard of an entire book as being without any substance based in fact other than the obvious use of the actresses likeness unless you yourself are some sort of Marilyn Monroe historian of which we should all be paying close attention. If this is the case, I will surely listen, but until then your claims of inaccuracy seem to be just as faulty as my claims of accuracy. Perhaps to avoid issues like this in the future, if you have a problem with the accuracy of an article and wish to call it in question, maybe you can do it without the indignant and arrogant tone and I'd be glad to actually discuss it with you rather than having an unnecessary ego-measuring contest in the language of sarcasm. Cheers!

Ethan Anderton on May 14, 2010


I couldn't think of a better actress for the part. Excellent casting in my book.

SlashBeast on May 14, 2010


Ethan, I disregard the entire book as being a "very accurate" portrayol because it's a "fake memoir". It was not guided by Marilyn's hand herself, nor did she be given any opportunity to discuss the quoting, reference material, context of use, supporting documentation, or anything of any nature (of course she didn't contribute because she's dead--no dispute there). As a writer, I take offense to this pop-culture journalistic phenomenon that takes factoids from a situation or persons life and creates myth around it to support a personal idea or statement. It's arrogant, unnecessary, and irresponsible (as you have in part stated about me). It also discredits the idea of a responsible journalist who continues to seek the truth. I'm sure that the book is not entirely inaccurate. But to call it "very accurate" is not responsible to both the reference material nor the person it's in reference too. It is also unfair to those still seeking answers about MM life. Fiction is fiction. To call anything fiction "very accurate" diminishes the word itself and begins to strip it of its meaning. There is not a fine line between fiction and non-fiction. There is a huge, gaping canal that is seperated by a body of water called truth. I attacked your statement because as a person such as yourself trying to become a journalist of sorts you have a responsibility to your readers. I know my statement was both aggressive and arrogant. I apologize for that. I also know this is a personal blog site about film, so anyone can say anything they want without dispute; That original concept is somewhat lost considering both the popularity of the site and the fact it's been quoted in film ads. It has now become a part of the journalistic community and should be treated with some sense of responsibility to its readers. In the future, if I dispute any written word on this website I will do so privately, to the author, and via e-mail.

Quanah on May 14, 2010


Quanah, Let's clear up something about fiction. I'm not sure if you're aware but there is a subgenre, if you will, of fiction known as roman à clef which is French for "novel with a key" meaning it is a novel describing real life behind the guise of fiction. Have you ever heard of Primary Colors? This novel is a lot like that. Many times roman à clef is used to write about controversial topics to avoid charges of libel. Though it can also be used to allow the author to shape the story the way he wants, as I said, in my reading of various descriptions and reviews of the book, the details that lie within Blonde have been said to be quite accurate. So fiction is not as cut and dry as you would like to think, and your quick disregard of this novel as being completely false for that very reason is actually what is truly irresponsible. This will be my last attention to this conversation simply because I have nothing left to say on the matter. If you have anything further, feel free to e-mail us or you can even contact me on Twitter. Cheers!

Ethan Anderton on May 14, 2010


"Blonde" is an amazing book, and I've been waiting a long time for someone to do a decent adaptation of it. They turned it into a sh*t mini series/tv movie just after the book came out. Part of the reason why it sucked is because they took the material too literally and tried to make it a biopic instead of a psychological portrait which is exactly what the book is. Whether or not Noami Watts looks like Marilyn Monroe is kinda beside the point as, again, the book isn't a biography of Marilyn Monroe but a character study of that kind of person/movie star/sex symbol. The book is very poetic and lyrical. So I guess Andrew Domink would be the perfect person to write/direct an adaptation of "Blonde" as "The Assassination of Jesse James" is kinda similar in that respect.

Caitlin on May 14, 2010


No she doesn't fit the role, at all. I like Naomi, maybe if she still looked like she did in Tank girl she'd be better for this role but not now. I almost hate to say it but if Christina Aguilera or whatever was someone who came to my mind right off the back. Scarlet johansson, Kate bosworth, heather Graham. I don't know...not Naomi watts though

Nuika on May 15, 2010


Again Christina Hendrix is Marilyn Monroe.

jeffrey on May 15, 2010


Christina Hendricks. Definitely. (With Scarlett Johannson as a backup option.)

Hmmm on May 17, 2010



jeffrey on May 17, 2010


This book was not cool so I hope that Naomi does do a good Marilyn.I'am sure it was hard to cast Marilyn because there is nobody out there like her and will never be, not even this Christina Hendrix.I think it's offensive for anyone to imply that one should have their head examined for believing someone else to be someone else when that's quite impossible ,alot have tried and failed ,I think they picked Naomi because of her soft voice and she could try to gain some weight.I would have thought Scarlett J but her voice is to deep.

samantha on Jul 25, 2010


I am a huge Marilyn Monroe fan...big!!!! I think Scarlett Johanson is the modern Marilyn Monroe and should portray her in a feature film! Watts is a wonderful actress, she just doesn't exude the sensuality that needs to be present and obvious for a Monroe biopic. Now with that said, I really wish they wouldn't be using "Blonde" as a prelude to make a movie about Marilyn. I want a true "biopic" about her on the big screen. As they have done for Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Dorothy Dandridge.

Jessie Kibodeaux on Dec 3, 2010


Christina Aguilera can not play Marilyn Craptina is short,fake and ugl;y she looks more like Snookie.Christina Hnedricks can play Marilyn she could be her daughter she looks and sounds just like her.

me on Mar 15, 2011


I think she is extremely talented for the role probably perfect she says she feels scared and a bit daunted by the task well that is probably exactly how Monroe was inside which of course would be the wellspring of her behaviour and It's effects upon others around her.

Mark77gulf on May 27, 2011


I think jessica alba would make a great marilyn. If you compare their faces they look very much alike. A few cosmetic corrections such as jess' eyebrows, hair, and skintone should be easy enough to transform her to look just like marilyn. Which its hard to find an actress that could really look like her and act like her. Im sure its gonna be a challenge. she could pull it off though.

Aileen on Jul 12, 2011


"Blonde" the Oates book was and still is a very predictable, cookie cutter, stereotypical fable about Monroe's life, written by a woman no less, Mailer's book "Of women and elegance" does a much better job at speaking in Marilyn's voice, why? Perhaps because he wrote it based on Milton Greene's recollections. I'd like to think her childhood, even though difficult, wasn't the worst in the world, more perhaps the fact that her mother was emotionally unreliable, yes, that can really haunt somebody for life, but the often told tale of her ascent to fame through parted legs and so forth is not only undocumented but exploitative, as well when speaking of the men in her life, they were perhaps more important men than Di Maggio, Miller and Kennedy?, Hyde, Kazan, Greene, Snyder are  just a few amongst them. Also, not any of the actresses mentioned above could possibly begin to fill in Marilyn's shoes, the concept is just preposterous, Lohan, Williams, Watts? No, but really, Monroe pretty much like someone like say Ava Gardner, or Rita Hayworth is in a league of her VERY OWN, unduplicable beauty wise, her subtle sense of comedic timing on screen and high voltage femininity in real life is so unique that any of these candidates are bound to fail, even though talented actresses, if possessed of any intelligent sense of objectivity they would shy away from this alas the prospect of publicity created by a role like this is too much a thing to pass by. Good luck to them!

Jean on Nov 2, 2011

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