Blonde: Andrew Dominik says gentlemen prefer blondes, it’s about “whores”

“Does anyone watch Marilyn Monroe movies?” asked Dominik, director of the Marilyn Monroe film Blonde.

According to Blonde director Andrew Dominik, Marilyn Monroe’s famous film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is all about whores.

Dominik, who wrote and directed the controversial NC-17 portrait of Monroe for Netflix, previously admitted to being unfamiliar with Monroe’s filmography before adapting Joyce Carol Oates’ novel about the late icon. Now, in a new interview with BFI’s Sight and Sound Magazine, Dominik said Monroe has been in “a whole bunch of movies that nobody really watches, right?”

Journalist Christina Newland, who conducted the interview with Dominik, tweeted an “outtake” from her transcript with the “Assassination of Jesse James” director.

“Anybody watch Marilyn Monroe movies?” Dominik said before calling Gentlemen Prefer Blondes a movie about “well-dressed whores.” See below.

“I want to make sure I’m doing my due diligence here,” Newland added on Twitter. “He has spoken about and referred to many of their films. He had clearly studied and observed everything: whether he liked it (other than ‘Some Like It Hot’, which he loves) is another story, obviously.”

In the print interview, Dominik also referred to Monroe’s famous “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” moment in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” as “sisterly advice” for easy-going women.

“‘If you want to fuck, make sure you get paid,'” Dominik mused over the message. “Or is it just romanticized whore?”

Monroe starred as showgirl alongside Jane Russell, who travels to Paris to find applicants abroad. While the film ends with a double wedding and two happily ever afters, offscreen that wasn’t the case: Monroe notoriously made just $500 for the role, compared to Russell’s $200,000 contract. But Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was critically acclaimed and has remained so ever since: in part because of the no-nonsense approach to work and sex that undermined Monroe’s on-screen role as a victim of the male gaze. That is, until “Blonde”, it seems.

Dominik later elaborated on Monroe’s enduring iconography, saying, “Well, she was a weird sex symbol because she doesn’t have to die in the end [of her films] like a Barbara Stanwyck or a Rita Hayworth. But she had to be a little baby… I think Marilyn was a man girl. I don’t think she was a woman who had many girlfriends. But I think she was a woman who didn’t have many friends. There is a sense that we want to reinvent them in line with today’s political concerns. But she was a person who was exceedingly self-destructive.”

Dominik added, “I think she was clearly an extraordinarily powerful person. But I don’t think it was built for success the way people see it today. So everyone has moments of strength and people want to say that she has taken control of her life. But she wanted to destroy her life. So I think the movie is about the importance of Marilyn Monroe. Or a meaning. She was a symbol of something. She was the 20th century Aphrodite, the American goddess of love. And she killed herself. What does that mean?”

Citing Lacanian and Freudian surreal depictions of psychology, Dominik also closed the critique of the intense depictions of multiple abortions and sexual assaults. “It’s not about taste for me,” said Dominik.

Blonde is currently in theaters and will premiere on Netflix on September 28th.

You can find all the details about “Blonde” here.

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Lindsay Lowe

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