Marilyn Monroe estate defends Ana de Armas’ accent amid Blonde controversy

Cameron Frew
Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

Marilyn Monroe’s estate has defended Ana de Armas’ casting in Blonde, coming amid controversy over her accent in the Netflix film.

De Armas will portray the iconic Hollywood actress in Blonde, a “reimagining” of Monroe’s life from director Andrew Dominik. It’s important to note: it’s not strictly a biopic, as it’s based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates.

The Knives Out star, a Latina woman with a Cuban accent, has been open about her efforts to perfect Monroe’s voice, even going through nine months of dialect coaching.

However, the first full trailer for Blonde was met with criticism, with some viewers unable to ignore De Armas’ “distracting” natural voice.

Ana de Armas’ Marilyn Monroe accent in Blonde trailer

The trailer, set to Monroe’s Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, shows De Armas’ star speaking to Bobby Cannavale’s Joe DiMaggio about her struggles “playing” Marilyn Monroe.

“Marilyn doesn’t exist. When I come out of my dressing room, I’m Norma Jean. I’m still her when the camera’s rolling. Marilyn Monroe only exists on the screen,” she says.

In an earlier interview with The Times, De Armas said: “I tried! It only took me nine months of dialect coaching, and practicing, and some ADR sessions. It was a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried.”

Some viewers branded De Armas’ casting as a “bad” creative choice, with one saying it “looks good with no sound on.” Others have suggested the actress’ voice to be intentional, serving to “emphasize the inherent artifice in biopics” which the film seems to be exploring.

Marilyn Monroe estate defends Ana de Armas amid Blonde controversy over her accent

While the Marilyn Monroe estate didn’t authorize the movie, nor did it participate in its production, it has stood up for De Armas amid the backlash.

Marc Rosen, president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which owns the Marilyn Monroe Estate, said (as per Variety): “Any actor that steps into that role knows they have big shoes to fill.

“Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Ana was a great casting choice as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity, and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the film in its entirety!”

Earlier speaking to Vanity Fair, De Armas opened up about having to “audition for everyone else”, not just Dominik.

“I always have people I needed to convince. But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so badly. You see that famous photo of her and she is smiling in the moment, but that’s just a slice of what she was really going through at the time,” she said.

Blonde hits Netflix on September 28.