“I spend a lot of time in the director’s prison, and then my friend Brad Pitt comes in and talks to the parole board and convinces them to let me out. Director Andrew Dominik said when speaking to an audience at the Red Sea Film Festival about why he didn’t get the chance to direct as he wanted.
The hour-long professional conversation in Jeddah focused mostly on the making and reception of Dominique’s latest work, Blonde, adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’ eponymous fantasy book about the life of Marilyn Monroe, and starring Ana de Armas. “I was expecting it to be a big hit and no one would see the movie. That’s what I’m kind of used to, movies that have a positive critical reaction and people don’t see them. Blonde was the opposite, at least in America. They hated the movie, and they were mad at it. But A lot of people have seen the movie, I was kind of surprised by it.”
Despite the backlash, Dominic wasn’t upset. “Criticism only hurts if you agree with it, and I didn’t really agree with any of it,” he said, and attributed the negative critical response in the United States to Americans’ desire to “celebrate this person according to the morals of the time.” . “
“We live in a time when 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, and if you don’t show them, it bothers them. Americans don’t like it when you monkey with their mythology so much, they’re in a lot of Sometimes they jump into the solution without actually looking at any of the traumas.”
Of Blonde’s claims that it exploited Monroe’s existence and legacy, Dominic said it was “kind of weird”: “She’s dead, the movie doesn’t make any difference to her one way or the other. What they mean is that the movie exploited their memory of her, her image, which is fair to what Enough – it is. That’s the whole idea of the movie. That’s the whole problem with Marilyn Monroe inspiring the desire to salvage. Everyone feels they know her and what’s best for her.”
The movie, made by the director more than a decade ago, only became possible when Netflix jumped on board, something Dominic also credits to his friendship with Pitt. Dominic’s 2007 “The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford” was one of Pitt’s first produced efforts and their first collaboration. They went on to work together again in 2012’s new films “Killing Them Softly” and “Blonde”.
“[Netflix] I agreed to make “Blonde” because I got into it with Brad Pitt, very much. Then we found Ana and you could see it was a good idea.” The director went on to say that the Cuban actress was the only “reasonable” version of Monroe. “There have been so many movies about Marilyn Monroe and the problem is I don’t think she’s Marilyn. I look at Michelle Williams, and Mira Sorvino, it’s not her,” he said, referring to the 2011 movie “My Weekend With Marilyn” and the made-for-TV movie “Norma Jean & Marilyn.”
Dominic has spoken at length about how what he sees as a societal shift towards conservatism has affected his film’s reception. I think society, in general, has become more conservative, on both sides. People have weaponized their values against each other. There was more discourse, people were willing to talk to each other and now they’re not.” He concluded, “Cinema is getting more conservative, you write bedtime stories. Did you know when you read a bedtime story to a child and they know every word in the story? It’s kind of what American movies have turned out to be, where they know every word of the story and it brings comfort. I don’t want to write bedtime stories.”
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