Best Actress nominee Ana de Armas: The polarizing ‘Blonde’ was not ‘made to please people’

In a new interview, Best Actress nominee Ana de Armas addressed the negative reviews of her film “Blonde,” which was lambasted by many critics and general viewers as well. The Netflix drama scored a 42% critical grade on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences rated it at 32%. 

“It’s hard to hear these reactions, but you can always go back to what you experienced, and why you did it, and the reasons why you were attracted to the project. That is not going to change. You have the director, and you have other actors that you can always talk to,” de Armas told The Hollywood Reporter. “As hard as it is to hear when people don’t like your film, it is what it is. It was not a movie that was made to please people or to make people like it. It is a hard movie to watch.”

Featuring explicit sexual content, “Blonde” tells the story of Marilyn Monroe, but without the rose-colored lens of some past projects on the Hollywood icon. The NC-17 film has long been positioned as antagonistic toward the audience. Speaking in 2021, long before “Blonde” made its debut on Netflix, director Andrew Dominik anticipated pushback. “It’s a demanding movie,” he said to ScreenDaily. “If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the fucking audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office.”

He added at the time, ”It’s an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it’s kind of what you want, right? “I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.” 

“Blonde” was criticized by some for perhaps reveling in the trauma Monroe faced – including sexual assault and abuse. But de Armas said she disagreed with those takes. “I don’t think the movie speaks badly about her a bit,” she said. “I think it’s the opposite. I think it speaks badly about the environment and the industry, and that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes for other people in the business. I feel like the movie also makes the audience feel like participants. We contributed at the time, and we still contribute, in the exploitation of actors, people in the public eye. We, the audience, do this. And I feel like it’s possible that some people have felt like [someone] pointed a finger at [them].”

De Armas is among this year’s crop of Best Actress nominees, but she is currently far behind front-runners Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh in our Gold Derby odds.

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