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Take it as a not-so-subliminal message, dear readers—if you tease Ana de Armas online for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Blonde, Brad Pitt will hear about it and have something to say. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Pitt praised Armas’ performance in the new biopic from Andrew Dominik, which is headed to Netflix this fall.
“She is phenomenal in it,” the actor opined. “That’s a tough dress to fill.”
Pitt further raised the stakes of his compliment by asserting that, without Armas, the film wouldn’t have been able to find its legs. “It was 10 years in the making,” Pitt said of Blonde. “It wasn’t until we found Ana that we could get it across the finish line.”
Although there’s many worthy critiques of Blonde—will a widely-distributed film with an NC-17 rating only exacerbate the already lecherous treatment of Marilyn’s legacy?— some naysayers have been stuck on one detail: Armas is Cuban, and has a slightly audible accent as Marilyn. After online backlash following the release of first trailer for the film on July 28, Marilyn Monroe’s estate defended Armas’ casting. Marc Rosen, the president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group (ABC), the conglomerate that owns Monroe’s estate, shared in a statement the estate “can’t wait to see the film in its entirety.”
“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon that transcends generations and history,” Rosen said. “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.” Sometimes, even the staunchest of critics (Monroe’s estate has never officially authorized the creation of Blonde) find a change of heart.
Blonde is out September 23.