Andrew Dominik has focused on resisting Blondhis biopic about Marilyn Monroe for Netflix which, after its world premiere in Venice, severely divided public opinion.
Speaking at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia, the director said American audiences had the strongest negative reaction to the film: “they hated the film!” — and claimed that when it came to iconic Americans like Monroe, all they wanted to see was a party.
“Now we live in a time where it is important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman. That’s what they want to see,” he said. “And if you don’t show them that, it upsets them.”
Instead he said Blondstarring Ana de Armas as the iconic figure, was accused of exploiting Monroe.
“Which is kind of strange, because she’s dead. The film somehow doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “What they really mean is that the movie exploited their memory of her, their image of her, which is fair enough. But that’s the whole idea of the movie. It tries to take the iconography of her life and put it in the service of something else, it tries to take things you’re familiar with and turn the meaning inside out. But that’s what they don’t want to see.”
As an Australian coming of age in the 1980s, when “offending your audience was a solemn duty, to get them out of their complacency about things,” Dominik said he was actually “really happy” that Blond had “outraged so many people”.
He also claimed that American films were becoming “more conservative,” like a bedtime story where people already knew every word and any deviation would cause a reaction. “But I don’t want to make bedtime stories.”
Despite the opposition to BlondDominik said that “tens of millions of people” have watched the movie on Netflix.
The Red Sea Film Festival runs until November 10.