Marilyn Monroe collage/art picture

Netflix Slaps ‘Blonde’ With NC-17 Rating

This upcoming movie based on 'Blonde' by Joyce Carol Oates and produced by Brad Pitt was deemed too shocking by Netflix.
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Updated October 18, 2021

Blonde should have been Ana de Armas’ big Oscar moment. Instead, it’s been labeled with an NC-17 rating. the Motion Picture Association’s most strict rating restricts a film from being viewed by anyone under 17 even if a parent or guardian is present. Most theaters will refuse to show films with this rating.

This is a win for director Andrew Dominik since he won’t have to water down his reportedly dark and graphic vision for the fictionalized Marilyn Monroe biopic. It’s not even clear how relevant the MPA rating system is for streaming films. Netflix doesn’t have to include a rating; doing so suggests that they might at least try to get Blonde into a limited theatrical release with a red carpet premiere as part of an awards season push.

The film will join a shortlist of movies that kept an NC-17 rating instead of editing for an R. The most recent high-profile NC-17 film was Blue Is the Warmest Colour, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2013. Thanks to changes in Academy rules, Blonde could still technically be eligible for the Oscar race in 2023 even without a theatrical premiere, so this rating isn’t quite the kiss of death it once was.

Original Article

Gentlemen might prefer blondes, but Netflix seems to have fallen out of love with their Marilyn Monroe movie.

The streaming platform just iced their hotly anticipated film about Marilyn Monroe, based on Joyce Carol Oates’ bestselling novel Blonde and starring Ana de Armas.

Ana de Armas at the premiere of 'Knives Out'

Originally slated to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September of this year, Blonde has been pushed back to 2022. Why? Because it’s reportedly too graphic, disturbing, and just plain weird for Netflix.

‘Brilliant’ and ‘Very Disturbing’

Last year, Joyce Carol Oates tweeted out her praise of the film after seeing a rough cut:

“I have seen the rough cut of Andrew Dominik’s brilliant adaptation and it is startling, brilliant, very disturbing, and [perhaps most surprisingly] an utterly feminist interpretation…not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything (like) this.”

Apparently, Netflix did not agree with her take. Director Andrew Dominik claimed that the movie has almost no dialogue, which is weird enough. However, leaked script pages hint at an NC-17 film with scenes that are too graphic and disturbing to detail here.

Dominik told Collider last year that his film “will be one of the ten best movies ever made.” That’s a totally normal thing to say… right?

The director is best known for his artsy, prestige films with Brad Pitt: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly. The pair seem to have a good working relationship. In fact, Pitt’s Plan B company is listed as a producer for Blonde, but even his star power isn’t enough for Netflix to release this alleged nightmare of a movie.

Dominik has reportedly NOT finished reshoots of the film yet. That leaves the eventual premiere date in total limbo. Who wants to bet that we won’t actually see Blonde in 2022?

Not the First Attempt at Adaptation

This is the second time that Hollywood has taken a crack at Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. A 2001 miniseries, co-written by Oates, cast Poppy Montgomery in the lead role. Unfortunately, it didn’t get great reviews and is mostly forgotten.

Poppy Montgomery as Marilyn Monroe

Titus Welliver (Bosch) and Griffin Dunne (This Is Us) portrayed two of Monroe’s husbands in the 2001 version. In the heavily fictionalized tale, they are only referred to as “The Baseball Player” (AKA Joe DiMaggio) and “The Playwright” (AKA Arthur Miller).

Joyce’s 700-page novel uses pseudonyms and initials to refer to many of the real-life people in Monroe’s story. The book is less a biopic and more of a Hollywood fever dream–making it notoriously hard to adapt.

Ana de Armas Headlines

Since the first stab at bringing Blonde to the big screen, Oscar-caliber actresses such Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts have been rumored to be attached to a remake.

In 2019, the up-and-coming Knives Out star Ana de Armas landed the leading role. That was somewhat controversial since de Armas is Cuban and brunette. She was also cast before her very public romance with Ben Affleck overshadowed her acting career. Now that Bennifer 2.0 has dominated the gossip cycle, any boost Ana may have gotten from her romance with Ben is pretty much history.

Ana de Armas in 'Knives Out'

Blonde was poised to be the actress’s first shot at an Oscar nomination, after a Golden Globe nomination for her work in Knives Out. Now, it’s not clear whether the movie will even be released. Ana has four movies stuck in post-production limbo–including the role that was supposed to be her major break in No Time To Die with Daniel Craig. To make things worse, she’ll have to do press for Deep Water alongside Ben Affleck. I’m sure that won’t be awkward at all.