Dear diary | The Cinema of What I Tell You
Dear Cousin Theo:
One of the highlights of the next edition of the Venice Festival is the presentation of “Blonde” by Andrew Dominik. A project of cathedral gestation, which has been in the development phase for 12 years with Naomi Watts, Jessica Chastain and finally Ana de Armas playing Marilyn Monroe and which has gone ahead thanks to the efforts of its producer Brad Pitt and the intervention from Netflix, in her role as savior of lost causes. “Blonde” is based on the acclaimed biographical novel about Marilyn Monroe for which the writer Joyce Carol Oates received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 and for which there is already an adaptation, CBS released a four-hour miniseries in 2001 that had to Poppy Montgomery as the lead and who derailed her Emmy ambitions basically because no one cared, just like the investors who refused to finance Dominik since he began kicking the streets of Hollywood and Class festivals Asking for pasta
If with the work done two decades ago by Poppy Montgomery nobody became hysterical or organized any marketing campaign to promote her in the industry, the expectations around the incarnation of Ana de Armas of Marilyn Monroe are enormous. More and more we fall into the nonsense of glorifying or burying before seeing and that has worsened in these times dominated by the explosion of social networks and digital media, many of them coming from the same farms of fake users employed to benefit from the advertising. The salon experts, and those who are not, which is much more ridiculous, have placed Ana de Armas as the favorite for the Oscar for best actress for “Blonde” without actually having seen the film, first, because the team Netflix’s publicists have already taken it upon themselves to feed the buzz and we worship the enthusiastic tweets, and second, for the biopic factor.
If an interpreter wants the respect of the industry, he has to make a biopic and if the interested party is insultingly attractive, he has to make himself ugly, and Rami Malek doesn’t count. Marilyn Monroe has been the greatest myth that Hollywood has had, above Greta Garbo, and the circumstances of her death have fueled her legend for decades, in addition, her incarnation of “sex symbol” was actually the defense mechanism of a helpless girl who only knew abandonment and abuse. She is, in short, a character with multiple dimensions that has become a fantasy for any actress with ambition and also for any choni with pretense of “sex symbol”.
Will Smith (“The Williams Method”), Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Renée Zellweger (“Judy”), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) , Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”), Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”), Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club” ), Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”), Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”), Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”), Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) and Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side” ) have won Oscars since 2010 for portraying real characters.
The list of actors who have been rewarded by academics for the biopic factor is endless, from the serial killer played by Charlize Theron in “Monster” (2003), to King Henry VIII played by Charles Laughton in “The Private Life of Enrique VIII” (1933), passing through the nun from “Death penalty” (1995) immortalized by Susan Sarandon or Loretta Lynn versioned by Sissy Spacek from “I want to be free” (1980). The great construction of a character, which already has the richness of reality, and the work of composition and imitation of the actor come together.
The really difficult thing is not to automatically fall under the radar of the awards because the real story itself has already built a good part of the story for the promotion and can even save a not brilliant job: the example of improvement based on a lot of effort given by the Williams sisters and Will Smith outweighed the very quality of the actor’s Oscar-winning performance.
Giving prizes to whoever plays a real character has become a really comfortable option and the more spectacular the portrayed person and the imitation work of the person who brings him to the screen, the greater his chances of victory, Eddie Redmayne and Eddie Redmayne know it well. Jessica Chastain, for example.
But the biopic factor isn’t always a winning formula. “The first lady” has recently been cancelled, one of Showtime’s star projects for the 2021/22 television season and whose objective was to bring together great female performers to give life to historic First Ladies of the United States. An awards magnet theorist who recruited Viola Davis (Michelle Obama), Michelle Pfeiffer (Betty Ford) and Gillian Anderson (Eleanor Roosevelt). “The first lady” was so disastrous that not even the digital media prescribers dared to talk about it, and they are capable of giving the pain in the ass with anything and also selling themselves for a bag of jelly beans.
The heirs of Marilyn Monroe have had to come out in defense of the work of the actress of Cuban origin Ana de Armas since she is being highly criticized on social networks for her maternal accent playing Monroe. It is commonplace, Kristen Stewart probably caused the delusions of her fans by putting on a blonde wig and tilting her head like Lady Di in “Spencer” (2021) but she did not escape criticism for not being British. “Spencer” landed Kristen Stewart an Oscar nomination and we still don’t know what Ana de Armas has in store for “Blonde,” but negative opinion surrounding casting choices can shatter a film’s pretensions.
That was what happened to “Nina” (2016), the biopic of the singer Nina Simone. Zoe Saldana’s casting choice to give life to the legendary artist was not liked and what was most offensive was that they darkened her skin to adjust it to Simone’s tone, even the singer’s own family was critical of the actress’s selection of Latin origin. As a result, “Nina” spent a lot of time kept in a drawer, had a very limited release and received negative reviews, and with the scene of Nina Simone slamming in a hospital as if it were the sequel to “Colombiana” (2011) they deserved it. . what he looked like “Hollywood owes me an Oscar” of Zoe Saldana almost ended her career.
But no one has become as consumed by the ambition that comes with the biopic factor as Faye Dunaway. She was her, along with Jane Fonda, the most important female star that Hollywood had half a century ago. She rose to fame thanks to “Bonnie & Clyde” (1967) and she combined beauty, talent, personality and magnetism, which made her related to the great divas of classic Hollywood. Faye Dunaway won the Oscar for best actress for playing a ruthless producer in “Network” (1976). Shortly after taking the prized award from her, her career began to decline because in the always peaceful community of Tinseltown her troubled status weighed too heavily. Her fights with Roman Polanski on the set of “Chinatown” (1974) became more than words and Bette Davis, who worked with her on the TV movie “The Disappearance of Aimée” (1976), said of her that she was the worst professional with which he had never come across.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Faye Dunaway was looking for that project with which to return to the front line and, incidentally, to get back under the radar of academics. His “Hollywood owes me a second Oscar” It was “Dearest Mom” (1981), the translation to the big screen of the story of the great star Joan Crawford through the eyes of her adoptive daughter Christina. That reckoning had become a huge publishing success, and the story, in which Crawford left any Disney supervillain up there with a missionary, had too many ingredients to be a Hollywood candy. Faye Dunaway was the ideal actress to play Joan Crawford. What’s more, Crawford herself commented in an interview conducted during the 1970s that of the prevailing vulgarity in Hollywood of those days, Faye Dunaway was the only one who possessed the class of a great star, she was a lady and worked as such. , something Joan Crawford was always struggling with because she never got to be a real lady.
“Dearest Mom,” released in 1982, was one of those projects designed to be in the awards race, recruiting historical figures from the film community, but it was so hilarious that it was impossible to take it seriously. Paramount changed its promotional strategy and sold it as a comedy, its humor is unintentional, and it became a huge commercial success but also the object of ridicule since the press considered it the worst film of that year. Faye Dunaway’s long-awaited return to Hollywood Olympus became her tomb and since then she began to live on the income of what was in the time of her reign.
A biopic is a double-edged sword, if the strategy is good, and in that an incontestable performance does not have to be key, the interpreter can be elevated in status but if it is a poorly received job it can mean the end of a career. So remember Faye Dunaway’s thump before awarding blind prizes.
This article was published on the blog “Tinseltown Stories” on August 4, 2022
mary carmen rodriguez