By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 26, 2010 at 2:05AM
Actress Talks Taking On Iconic Role
For whatever reason (perhaps a sudden influx of late-night cable repeats of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"...), Marilyn Monroe is somewhat in vogue. For instance, Andrew Dominik is working on an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' Monroe-centric novel "Blonde," with Naomi Watts. That's a few years off yet, as the director's first heading for crime thriller "Cogan's Trade," but another take on the legendary star has just wrapped in the UK -- "My Week With Marilyn."
The project, directed by TV veteran Simon Curtis ("Cranford") stars Michelle Williams as Monroe, and follows her friendship with young Englishman Colin Clark while in the country shooting "The Prince and the Showgirl," as well as her tempestuous relationship with director/co-star Laurence Olivier. Rising star Eddie Redmayne plays Clark, with Kenneth Branagh taking on the mantle of Olivier, and a solid supporting cast including Judi Dench as actress Sybil Thorndike, Julia Ormond as Olivier's wife Vivien Leigh, Dougray Scott as Monroe's husband Arthur Miller, Derek Jacobi, Dominic Cooper and Emma Watson.
Baz Bamigboye has a new image from the film, which has just wrapped, and he talked to Williams on set, who told him that, despite originally turning the part down, "I knew I wouldn't be able to resist, eventually. Physically and vocally, everything about her is different from me. I've kind of gone to school and had teachers to help me understand Marilyn, so I could project an essence of her."
It sounds like the work is paying off -- Bamigboye praises the rushes he's seen of the performance, and Williams sounds like she's been truly affected by the role: "At a certain point, something else does take over. I don't quite feel myself these days... It rearranges you, it shifts your molecules, lifts you up, spins you around, puts you back down and you're not quite the same, for better or for worse."
She also confides that she's been treating the role in a multi-faceted way: "When I first approached the part, I though that there were three, even four parts to Marilyn" -- the public figure, the private figure, and the recreation of Monroe's performance in "The Prince and the Showgirl."
If nothing else, it sounds like Williams is storming the part, and we don't think it's too early to suggest that she's a likely Oscar nominee in 2012 -- a role like this is manna from heaven to the Academy, as Cate Blanchett's win as Katherine Hepburn in "The Aviator" proved. The Weinstein Company will be distributing the film, and though there's no word yet on a release date, we imagine the fall festival route is likely.