Netflix Ana de Armas in Blonde (2022)
Ana de Armas thinks audiences had trouble realizing her Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde wasn't meant to be a factual biopic.
The controversial Netflix movie, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates, divided viewers. In a new installment of Variety's "Actors on Actors" series, de Armas, 34, addresses the criticisms.
Eddie Redmayne, who was paired with de Armas for the interview, said he had a similar instance with his 2015 film The Danish Girl, which was based on a real person, Lili Elbe, but was an adaptation of a fictionalized book.
The Good Nurse actor, 40, said, "Our script was an adaptation of that book. I find it complex when there's a true person and you're playing an adaptation of a fictionalized version. I find it complex to wade through what truth I was looking for."
Said de Armas, "There is this photographic memory that we all have of Marilyn. So we think we know what was happening at that time. The film is giving a different interpretation to those images, mixed with the story of the book."
"I think that's what has been tough for the audience to understand about the movie; the emotional truth is so powerful in the film that it's hard to separate that it's not a biopic," she continued. "I've heard, 'You missed this part of her life,' and 'She was not only sad or depressed.' And I'm like, 'I know, but we're not telling that story.' "
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Ana de Armas
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.
De Armas also told Redmayne — who starred in the 2011 film My Week with Marilyn, in which Michelle Williams played the iconic actress — it was "important" for Blonde to show "the difficult part or the dark side."
"Because," she added, "even though it's a fictional book and movie, it was true, what happened. You don't end up dead at 36 years old if everything was amazing and perfect."
Blonde director Andrew Dominik recently spoke at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia about why he felt American audiences "hated" the movie.
He said, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "We're living in a time where it's important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman. That's what they want to see. And if you're not showing them that, it upsets them."
Dominik also said the movie couldn't be exploiting Monroe because of the fact that "she's dead."
"The movie doesn't make any difference in one way or another. What they really mean is that the film exploited their memory of her, their image of her, which is fair enough. But that's the whole idea of the movie," he said. "It's trying to take the iconography of her life and put it into service of something else, it's trying to take things that you're familiar with, and turning the meaning inside out. But that's what they don't want to see."
Blonde is now streaming on Netflix.