Andrew Dominik, who’s helming the upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic – Blonde, has claimed that his film draws inspiration and elements from classics like Raging Bull and Citizen Kane. Blonde is based on the famous yet tragic life of the Hollywood actress, who gained immense recognition and attention for what the industry at the time dubbed as “blonde bombshell” roles. Monroe did some of her best films in the 1950s, rising among the top-listed actresses of the time. However, the actress died by suicide at 36 after struggling with severe mood disorders.
The film is said to cover Monroe’s life in a fictionalized setting, diving into the unknown aspects of her life, including her marriages, affairs, and other conspiracy theories surrounding her life that have stemmed over the years. Given the film’s nature and its narrative style, director Andrew Dominik has claimed that his movie is like if the famous films Citizen Kane and Raging Bull “had a baby daughter.” Elaborating on this comparison in an interview with Collider, he said:
The film is based on the 2000 best-selling novel Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. Ana De Armas (Blade Runner 20149, Knives Out, No Time To Die) will play Monroe in the film. Both films Dominik references in his statement are one of the finest films of all time, with Citizen Kane still regarded as the best film ever made. They are well-known films that chronicle a particular character’s life throughout, a narrative that Blonde is likely to follow, and probably that’s where it draws inspiration from the two classics.
In Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese chronicled the life of a fictional character, Jake LaMotta. The film was a story that spun several years through time jumps, showcasing La Motta’s struggles as he rose to become one of the greatest boxers. On the other hand, Citizen Kane revolutionized filmmaking and each of its technical aspects as it narrated the story of Charles Foster (a character based on newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst) through the eyes of his close ones, which, at the time, also introduced new ways of storytelling, camera work, production design, and other filmmaking techniques, making it a modern filmmaker’s guide.
Both films had different tones, settings, and emotional cores to their stories. What is similar between them is the idea of taking a life and putting it on screen, with both of them representing themes of desires, ambition, insecurities, and breakdowns through their lead characters. With such strong comparisons, Dominik has surely gained the attention for his film, which will also be a biographical drama, depicting events from Monroe’s life and those events’ consequences which the actress faced and lived.
Such a comparison also raises fans’ bar of expectations as well, and now Dominik will have the responsibility to create his own vision among well-known biopics while maintaining the integrity and greatness of both Raging Bull and Citizen Kane.
Blonde stars Ana De Armas in the lead role, alongside Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Julianne Nicholson, Sara Paxton, Garret Dillahunt, and Scoot McNairy. Written & Directed by Andrew Dominik, the film will release on Netflix with a NC-17 rating.