THE COVER GIRL
One of the most consistently astonishing things about Blonde, writer-director Andrew Dominik’s years-in-the-making adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s novel exploring the fictional interior life of Marilyn Monroe, is the degree to which star Ana de Armas slips into the screen siren’s skin. Aside from her arresting performance, which channels the heartbreak and trauma Monroe suffered in her life, the Cuban-born Knives Out actor visibly transforms into Monroe in some of the most widely recognized moments from her career.
As Blonde’s creative team sought to recreate famous photographs and archival magazine covers for the film, makeup department head Tina Roesler Kerwin and hair department head Jaime Leigh McIntosh channeled the late superstar through de Armas with the greatest degree of accuracy possible. “The main objective was to match the original [images],” says Roesler Kerwin. “Andrew Dominik said to us, ‘I don’t want you to put Marilyn’s makeup on Ana. I want you to find Marilyn within Ana.’ Finding small tweaks or different things that I could do to make Ana look more like Marilyn was the goal.”
The naturally brunette de Armas spent between two and a half to three hours in hair and makeup each morning of the film’s 47-day shoot to become the woman who, decades after her death, remains the world’s most recognizable blonde. “She is an international household name; she never goes out of style,” notes costume designer Jennifer Johnson. “She’s in everyone’s imagination as someone that you aspire to be or you fantasize about. She is in our zeitgeist, I assume, forever. I don’t see Marilyn leaving this planet anytime soon.”