Critiques zero in on the Cuban-born actor’s accent in the recently dropped trailer for director Andrew Dominik’s upcoming Netflix biopic about the Hollywood icon. Pitt, who co-produced the movie, weighed in on the conversation during a recent stop of his linen-forward press tour for his action comedy film “Bullet Train.”
“She is phenomenal in it,” Pitt told Entertainment Tonight about de Armas on Tuesday. “That’s a tough dress to fill.”
The Oscar winner went on to impress just how key de Armas was to making the film work, given how other actors, including Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts, were all previously attached to star as Monroe in the film.
“It was 10 years in the making,” Pitt said of the project, which was based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates of the same name. “It wasn’t until we found Ana that we could get it across the finish line.”
The film, which has received a rare NC-17 rating, took an unflinching approach to exploring the psyche of the screen legend, weaving both fictional and historical strands into a story about trauma and exploitation.
Many have been skeptical of de Armas’ casting from the onset, but the scrutiny only intensified after the official trailer revealed how the star recreated Monroe’s signature breathy tone. Some fans were up in arms over de Armas’ accent appearing to break through in certain moments.
On the heels of the trailer’s release, Monroe’s estate, which is owned by a conglomerate of brands, came to her defense amid the controversy.
“Any actor that steps into that role knows they have big shoes to fill,” Marc Rosen, president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group (ABG), told Variety in a statement. “Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Ana was a great casting choice as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the film in its entirety!”
The 34-year-old has previously spoken about the lengths she went to prepare for the role, including how she worked extensively to perfect the character’s voice before even stepping onto the set.
“It took me nine months of dialect coaching, and practicing and some ADR sessions,” de Armas told The UK Times. “It was a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried.”
Viewers will have their chance to judge de Armas’ performance when “Blonde” arrives in the fall, but at least she also has “Knives Out” co-star Jamie Lee Curtis in her corner. The actor, whose father, Tony Curtis, famously starred alongside the real Monroe in “Some Like It Hot,” heaped praises upon de Armas after seeing an early cut of the film.
“I dropped to the floor,” Curtis told Vanity Fair. “I couldn’t believe it. Ana was completely gone. She was Marilyn.”
See for yourself when “Blonde” hits Netflix on Sept. 28.