Ana de Armas' Marilyn Monroe Transformation Took 2.5 Hours

Ana de Armas spent two and a half hours in the makeup chair becoming Marilyn Monroe for Blonde, directed by Andrew Dominik and streaming now on Netflix. Since breaking out in the much-adored mystery Knives Out in 2019, de Armas has evolved into a bona fide star. In Blonde, de Armas leads the film as its protagonist Norma Jeane and her alter ego Marilyn Monroe.

Blonde takes viewers on a journey through a fictionalized version of Monroe's life based on Joyce Carol Oates' novel of the same name. The movie has been the subject of much interest in the months leading up to its release due to de Armas' popularity, the well-known figure at its center, and the much-discussed NC-17 rating. While the movie itself has received mixed reviews, partly due to its gratuitous sexual content, critics have praised de Armas' performance as Monroe.


Related: Blonde Movie Cast & Real Life Character Comparison Guide

Blonde makeup department head Tina Roesler Kerwin and hair department head Jaime Leigh McIntosh spoke with Variety, detailing how they transformed de Armas for the film, which took two and a half hours each day. Kerwin explained they sought “to find our Marilyn in Ana and not put Marilyn’s hair and makeup on Ana, but to define our Marilyn and define her as best as we could.” The process involved a silicone cap to cover de Armas' thick, dark hair and survive the whirlwind of changes in Blonde, blue contact lenses and fake eyelashes to change the look of de Armas' eyes, and contour to age de Armas or make her look younger depending on the scene.

How de Armas' Marilyn Monroe Compares To Real Life

Ana de Armas wears white Marilyn Monroe dress in Blonde

Blonde also recreates a few scenes from Monroe's film career, giving the hair and makeup departments the task of painstaking replication. This is one of the most impressive aspects of the movie and well worth the amount of time de Armas spent in the chair each day. The hard work by the hair and makeup teams compliments her performance as Monroe and contributes to the more authentic elements of the film. Even de Armas' Knives Out co-star Chris Evans was so fooled by a tape of de Armas in character that he mistook her for the real Monroe.

Still, Kerwin makes an important distinction in her comments, explaining that the hair and makeup teams had to find de Armas' version of the real-life figure rather than making her an exact copycat. True-to-life accuracy of a look or accent shouldn't necessarily be the most salient review point for a work of historical fiction like Blonde. The movie can be assessed on the emotion it evokes regarding one of Hollywood's most misunderstood sex symbols. In the case of Blonde, de Armas' look in the film strikes a nice balance between the two.

Source: Variety