Monday, August 03, 2009

Marilyn. Never Allowed to Rest in Peace

I've been offline quite a lot this past week so perhaps this is old news but last night I read a rumor that Scarlett Johansson might be offered the part of Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. That's a future film based on a posthumously published diary by Colin Clark. He was under Sir Laurence Olivier's employ during the shoot of The Prince and the Showgirl when Marilyn was 30 and Olivier 50.

I love showbiz movies but I often wish that telefilms & movies would leave Marilyn alone. Better that Hollywood promoted Marilyn's actual work (still undervalued) than continually reanimating the corpse of her celebrity.

As for the possible Marilyns, Scarlett still hasn't really proven herself a viable box office commodity but she's held on to the #1 most-sought-after-young-actress title anyway. And for a surprising number of years now. That said, if we must see Marilyn revived again, I'd rather see Michelle Williams (also in the running) have a go at it. Cup size aside, I think Michelle looks more like Marilyn and she's turned into a more interesting actress, too.

A teensy sampling of "Marilyns" in the past 25 years [clockwise
from left]: Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd in Norma Jean & Marilyn
(1996), Theresa Russell in Insignificance (1985), Sally Kirkland in The
Island
(1998) and Samantha Morton in Mister Lonely (2007)


Still the list of actresses that have played Marilyn is crazy long. How exactly would any actress really distinguish herself in the role at this point? My natural orientation leans heavily towards actresses, but in this particular case I'm a lot more curious as to which 40-50something male star would risk taking on OLIVIER (capitals intended). That's not an actor-on-actor challenge you see so often.
*

35 comments:

TheReviewer said...

I'd rather see Amy Adams in the role, she would certainly be perfect. She can be dramatic, comedic, sexy and beautiful at the same time.

Anonymous said...

My vote goes to Michelle Williams.

Jose said...

David Strathairn for Olivier!

billybil said...

Gosh - what do you think is going to happen when Elizabeth Taylor passes away? Do you think we're going to get all sorts of Elizabeth wannabes?

Gag!

Fernando Moss said...

Damn billybill... I like to think Elizabeth Taylor is immortal, don't remind me she isn't...

plus, who could step in her shoes?

DJ said...

My vote is Rachel McAdams. I think they look quite a bit alike.

"but she's held on to the #1 most-sought-after-young-actress title anyway."

--Why do you say that?

NATHANIEL R said...

I just think it's odd is all. Scarlett is a big celebrity but that hasn't really transferred over into movies. There's an argument to be made that audiences would far rather pay to see ------( fill in blank) but Scarlett's is still always the name you hear casting wise.

Tex said...

Why was Sally Kirkland's old and crazy ass ever allowed to play Marilyn Monroe? That's more obnoxious than anything Scarlett Johannson could do with this role.

Seisgrados said...

Olivier? It's easy: Ralph Fiennes (although I think he's not 50 yet). And for Marilyn I'd go Charlize Theron.

Anonymous said...

I like Rachel MacAdams suggestion...and also Ralph Fiennes as Olivier...anyway I'm not very confident about the project

for what concernes tha actresses who played Marilyn I should say my favorite one is Theresa Russell...I liked so much her in INSIGNIFICANCE that I'd put her in my ideal 1985 Best Actress line-up

mirko s.

Arkaan said...

I agree with mirko s regarding Russell's performance.

Of current actresses, I'd go with Billie Piper.

Iggy said...

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think Johansson is the best choice to play Marilyn. She's the voluptuous movie star almost every straight man fantasizes about, but that also seems to have some intelectual interests. Probably he lacks that naivety Marilyn had/marketed so well, but I think she's the closest thing to Marilyn these cynical times might have.

That said, for movie star tragic lives I prefer Montgomery Clift's. If just because genre makes me feel closer to him.

NoNo said...

Do you think Emily Blunt would be a good looking blonde?

JS said...

Michelle or Amy Adams.

NATHANIEL R said...

NoNo... i can't picture Emily Blunt blonde.

but then for the most part i like my actresses to stick with their traditional hair color. I like my Streep & Pfeiffer blonde, my kidman red, my blunt brunette. ;)

Glenn Dunks said...

Just be thankful it's Scarlett and not Megan Fox!

Fernando Moss said...

Lindsay Lohan could use the role as a return...

Ramification said...

Scarlett is NOT the Marilyn of our time, she is gorgeous definitely, but nowhere near as interesting or versatile as an actress. My suggestion is Lindsay Lohan, but I doubt any film studio would risk on her these days!

UncleVanya said...

Maybe Johnny Depp will get over his Carol Channing fixation, and lobby for this part instead (one can hope).

Alex said...

I know she's on your hit list, Nathaniel, but I've always thought Renee Zellweger would make a good Marilyn. Maybe I've just seen "Chicago" too many times...

Anonymous said...

I think anne hathaway has kind of surpassed scarlett as the most sought after young actress of today.

mrripley said...

i think mm should be left well alone her persona is simply too large to do it justice,can you imagine someone doing madonna in 30 yrs time.

UncleVanya said...

i think mm should be left well alone her persona is simply too large to do it justice,can you imagine someone doing madonna in 30 yrs time.

I can....Lindsey Graham (or Lohan). I ALWAYS GET THOSE TO MIXED UP. Damn!

ncleVanya said...

Don't know why. Anyway, the gay one should play Mads.

Iggy said...

I agree with mrripley, probably no actress can succeed in this, how do play a larger than life screen legend on screen? They're screen legends for some reason. If, let's say, Saramago'd rewrite Chekhov, if would never be Chekhov it'd always be Saramago rewriting Chekhov, no matter how good both are.

But, on a second thought if they're finally making it, no matter what anonymous people on internet think, maybe it could be a breakthrough performance in the movies for Christina Hendricks.

UncleVanya said...

Saramago'd rewrite Chekhov, if would never be Chekhov it'd always be Saramago rewriting Chekhov, no matter how good both are.


Well, being intimately connected with Chekov, I still think Lindsey or Lindsey could pull it off. They just have to turn down the ham. Oh, wait...I changed my mind...Faye Dunaway will surely be around in 30 years :)

UncleVanya said...

My apologies. That's Chekhov with an "h"...my bad (actually I'm just drunk). Maybe i COULD PLAY mARilyn (but I would have to be drunk).

I don't know why, but this topic just brings out the silliness in me. Mea culpa?

Iggy said...

ha, UncleVanya, maybe it's the booze not the thread.
Or maybe it's this thread because I'm not drunk or high and I was thinking how weird internet is, you can find yourself addressing to "Mr Ripley" and "Uncle Vanya" when talking about Marilyn.

But maybe it was my bad mentioning Chekhov without having noticed Uncle Vanya was here. ;)

UncleVanya said...

lol Iggy...
but I think the real dilemma, here, is that I am trying to paticipate in this thread, while watching Altman's, "3 Women" on another screen, and being reminded of it's tag-line: "1 Woman becomes 2, 2 Women become 3, 3 Women become 1". And listening to Tori Amos singing "Northern Lad" while drunk, I'm sure, does not help. :)

At any rate, levity is nice when everyone is so serious about casting another unfortunate woman to play Marilyn Monroe. I know it's just me (I am sure) but I could care less. The enthusiasm of others does, however, bring out the devil in me (which, I am sure, is amusing to me, only). Hence, I do apologize to everyone (I think).

UncleVanya said...

By the way, it is storming, here, like a motherfucker. What a cocktail: Marilyn, Chekhov, Tori, Altman, the 2 Lindseys' and a nasty-assed storm. Brace yourself, this could be the end of the world as we know it (or at least, a bumpy ride).

jess said...

Charlize Theron would need a good padding, and she looked far too tall and thin to pass for a voluptuous woman.

Scarlett is closer body-wise, but Michelle Williams would be a cool choice. Although she might have trouble exuding the same sensuality as the Monroe.

But something tells me the studio will go with the bigger name, and Johansson is the safest draw, especially considering she's hails as one of the sexiest women out there by the male community.

adri said...

I know he's too young, but I see Ewan McGregor in the Olivier role. Actually, I can see McGregor in a lot of Olivier roles, as The Entertainer, as Rebecca's husband, as MacHeath, as Lord Nelson, etc.

UncleVanya said...

As long as he doesn't get near my teeth (ie. Marathon Man), he can continue fixing my plumbing

Wayne B. said...

If bust size doesn't matter then I think Gretchen Mol should have a crack at it. She has charm and could bring dramatic chops in illuminating Marilyn Monroe's later years.

Phil said...

I think we should give Paris Hilton the chance she deserves to finally get a more serious part in which her talent and charisma are allowed to shine!

Despite her reputation and the work she has done until now, she clearly has the potential to do something from that level! With a good director and good supporting actor, she could carry the weight of such a movie and such a legend...

Yep! Paris would be my choice!