(The Weinstein Company) When the film adaptation of My Week With Marilyn popped up on my radar, I, like many others, was skeptical. Marilyn Monroe had a complex presence that no one, however talented, can replicate. Ethereal and unattainable, sensual but coy, Marilyn herself was her own creation. Novels, movies, and biographies have all attempted to pin down the indefinable seductress and what it was about her that so got under our skin. It’s been almost fifty years since her mysterious death, yet we still yearn to understand Marilyn’s life.
My Week With Marilyn is an appealing take on the tragic starlet’s life, as it is not technically a biopic so much as a peek into her day-to-day life. It takes place during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl, and is adapted from Colin Clark’s autobiographical accounts (The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week With Marilyn) of his time on set with his boss, Sir Laurence Olivier, and Marilyn.
Casting for the film had fierce competition, from frontrunner Scarlett Johansson to Amy Adams, Kate Hudson, and Michelle Williams. Williams snatched up the role, leaving many to ponder if her svelte frame could fill out enough, and if she could wiggle that walk and talk that breathy talk to emulate Ms. Monroe. If the festival buzz is any indication, she can.
The trailer reveals the many sides of Marilyn: the wiggling, sensual starlet, the chipper, playful ingénue, and the heartbreak she kept from the public for so long. Waiflike Michelle Williams put on some weight to attain Monroe’s hourglass figure and even wore extra padding to get her body just right. She also spent six months researching Ms. Monroe, from reading biographies, letters, poems, and diaries, to watching her films and listening to recordings. Williams met with a choreographer to nail down that come-hither walk.
Rounding up the cast are acclaimed veterans and some of the younger generation's best and brightest. My Week With Marilyn marks Emma Watson’s breakout role from the Harry Potter series as a wardrobe assistant, and I for one am eager to see how she fares in a more mature flick. Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double, Mamma Mia!) plays celebrity photographer Milton H. Greene, Marilyn’s business partner. Dougray Scott (Ever After, Mission Impossible II) was cast as Marilyn’s new husband and famed play write Arthur Miller, and Shakespearian actor Kenneth Branagh steps up to the difficult task of portraying the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier. Eddie Redmayne has only starred in a handful of films, but beat out many other young actors for the film’s narrator, Colin Clark.
My Week With Marilyn debuted at the New York Film Festival and has since made its way around the festival circuit. Michelle Williams has already been tapped for another possible Oscar nomination, but only time will tell if she can truly embody Marilyn Monroe.
For Fans Of: Some Like It Hot, The King’s Speech, The Prince and the Showgirl
Why We’re Excited: Marilyn Monroe, Oscar Buzz, Biopic
The Weinstein Company's 'My Week With Marilyn' hits U.S. theaters November 23, 2011.