Cannes: Andrew Dominik Says He's Aiming To Make "Emotional Nightmare Fairy-Tale" Marilyn Monroe Biopic 'Blonde' Next

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by Oliver Lyttelton
May 25, 2012 12:05 PM
6 Comments
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After a few years in the wilderness after the masterpiece "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" underperformed at the box office, Andrew Dominik's third film -- initially titled "Cogan's Trade" after the George V. Higgins book on which it's based, and later retitled "Killing Them Softly" -- came together quite quickly. The first hints emerged in September 2010, and within a few months it had a star and producer in Brad Pitt, a distributor courtesy of The Weinstein Company, and rolled in front of cameras in early 2011.

But with the film having premiered at Cannes this week (read our review here), we began to wonder what happened to "Blonde," Dominik's Naomi Watts-starring adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel about Marilyn Monroe. That film was long-mooted to be his next project after 'Jesse James,' and was originally set to get underway in January 2011 before "Killing Them Softly" came along. Was it still a going concern? Or had last year's "My Week With Marilyn" put paid to Monroe-themed pictures for a while?

Well, our man on the ground Aaron Hillis spoke to Dominik at Cannes this week, and the Australian helmer said he's actively working toward "Blond" being his follow-up to "Killing Them Softly." "I really want to do ['Blonde']," he said. "It's not something I can talk about, 'cause we're trying to work some stuff out, but hopefully that's going to be the next picture." And when we asked about possible Cormac McCarthy adaptation "Cities of the Plain," Dominik replied that the Monroe biopic has the advantage: "I like that one, but my heart belongs to Marilyn. I'd like to start shooting it next year, that's what I'd like to do. It's a really sprawling, emotional nightmare fairy-tale type movie, and I really want to do it real bad... It's a story about an abandoned orphan who gets lost in the woods."

It sounds like a fascinating take, and certainly far preferable to the glorified TV movie that was "My Week With Marilyn." Clearly some pieces of the puzzle need to fall into place before it's confirmed (likely financing or rights issues), but here's hoping those things can get sorted out soon. "Killing Them Softly" hits theaters on September 21st.

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6 Comments

  • Christian | May 25, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    Magnificent news! Kudos to you, Playlist! Your coverage in Cannes has been amazing with updates on John Hillcoat's Triple Nine and Andrew Dominik's Blonde!

  • David | May 25, 2012 1:55 PMReply

    The script was like a lynchian horror induced fantasy tale. Beautiful and scary.

  • jon | May 25, 2012 1:41 PMReply

    One of the best scripts I've ever read. Dominik will knock this one out of the park if he gets the chance.

  • gonad | May 25, 2012 12:43 PMReply

    Dominik is such a master. Chopper was one of those rare films that had me wanting to stand up and applaud each scene as it unspooled. And Jesse James, wow. Now I've got to wait four months for Killing Them Softly, aaarrgghh!

  • JD | May 25, 2012 12:30 PMReply

    It would be tragic if the insulting portrait of MM in MWWM was the last word on the subject. She was a complex woman worthy of a complex biopic.

  • Stephen B | May 25, 2012 12:15 PMReply

    Blonde is a fantastic book, but utterly depressing. Monroe's life was pretty hellish and Oates presents probably the worst possible scenario for every situation (though to her credit, probably not far from the truth). It's fascinating but will make for a difficult watch. I think there was actually a shitty TV adaptation of it back in the '90s with the Home Improvement mom playing Marilyn's batshit crazy mother. Still, Dominik's passion and talent has me overlooking the fact that I may have a gun in my mouth by the time the credits roll.

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