If anyone happens to have any major pearl-clutching plans coming up, count Ana de Armas out. In a new interview ahead of Netflix’s Blonde, which stars the Cuban actor as Marilyn Monroe, Armas says she’s confused as to how the film warranted Netflix’s first-ever NC-17 rating, especially when compared with other salacious content on the streamer (looking at you, 365 Days.)
“I didn’t understand why that happened,” Armas tells L’Officiel of Blonde’s rating. “I can tell you a number of shows or movies that are way more explicit with a lot more sexual content than Blonde.”
Armas’ surprise at the NC-17 rating is shared by Blonde director Andrew Dominik, who previously told Vulture he was surprised by the judgment after feeling his team had “colored inside the lines” with Marilyn’s story.
“I think if you’ve got a bunch of men and women in a boardroom talking about sexual behavior, maybe the men are going to be worried about what the women think,” Dominik says. “It’s just a weird time. It’s not like depictions of happy sexuality. It’s depictions of situations that are ambiguous.”
Dominik continues: “I think if I’m given the choice, I’d rather go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story. Because we know that her life was on the edge, clearly, from the way it ended. Do you want to see the warts-and-all version or do you want to see that sanitized version?”
Although the warts-and-all style rating might still baffle Armas, she and Dominik share a strong belief that in order to do Marilyn justice, the team behind Blonde had to be willing to grapple with some difficult stuff. Ultimately, showing the audience a sanitized version of the Marilyn story was never Blonde’s purpose—it also wasn’t the purpose of the Joyce Carol Oates 1999 novel of the same title, on which the film is based.
“To tell this story it is important to show all these moments in Marilyn’s life that made her end up the way that she did. It needed to be explained,” Armas shares. “Everyone [in the cast] knew we had to go to uncomfortable places. I wasn’t the only one.”
Blonde is set to premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival. It will debut on Netflix September 28.