All About Eddie Redmayne

Colin Clark, author of My Week With Marilyn, is played by Eddie Redmayne in the forthcoming movie. In some ways this is a difficult role to take, because personally I don’t believe that Clark was really as close to Monroe as he claimed.

However, Eddie Redmayne is a fine actor – I loved his performance as Angel Clare in the BBC’s Tess of the D’Urbevilles – and I’m sure he will do well (and probably a lot better than Clark deserves…)

With Emma Watson

Redmayne recently spoke about My Week With Marilyn with David Colman of Interview magazine:

“COLMAN: So how did you come to this Marilyn Monroe project?

REDMAYNE: Originally, when the script came in, I read the book and I was fascinated by this character Colin Clark. He’d grown up surrounded by people like Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier and Margot Fonteyn, who were friends of his parents, but he wasn’t intimidated by their fame. He went on to become a runner in the film industry. The film industry is incredibly hierarchical, a bit like Eton [College], which is where Clark went to school—and also where I went to school. But as a runner on a film set, despite the fact that you’re the lowest of the low, you also have access to everything, so what was challenging for me was that the guy is kind of an observer and a cipher.

COLMAN: Were you a Marilyn Monroe fan going in?

REDMAYNE: I have to put my hand up here. I’m getting better, but I remain one of the most ill-educated filmgoers in the world, so it was a wonderful excuse to watch a lot of Marilyn Monroe movies. What’s amazing is this whole movie is about how she was going through this incredibly desperate, dark time, and was a nightmare from all accounts—and yet when you watch The Prince and the Showgirl, she has this lightness and frivolity and this kind of sexy effortlessness.”

Cecil Beaton: The New York Years

A new exhibition (with accompanying book) opening at the Museum of the City of New York next month.

“Cecil Beaton: The New York Years
Oct 25 through Feb 20

From the 1920s through the ‘60s, Manhattan’s artistic and social circles embraced British-born photographer and designer Cecil Beaton (1904-80). Cecil Beaton: The New York Years brings together extraordinary photographs, drawings, and costumes by Beaton to chronicle his impact on the city’s cultural life. Beaton’s relentless energy and curiosity spurred him to pursue new fields, from fashion and portrait photography to costume and scenic design for Broadway, ballet, and opera, and to put his own aesthetic stamp on each of these endeavors.

A beautifully illustrated companion book, written by curator Donald Albrecht, is co-published by the Museum and Skira Rizzoli.”

Elliott Erwitt in Austin, Texas

Photographer Elliott Erwitt will discuss his life and work with Steve Hoelscher, head of American Studies, tonight at 7.30pm in the Jessen Auditorium, at the University of Texas in Austin. The event will be webcast live.

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’

Over at Flavorwire, a look back at past depictions of Marilyn in popular culture, in anticipation of Michelle Williams’ upcoming movie role. Pictured above is Catherine Hicks in the TV movie, Marilyn: An Untold Story (1980.)

I would also nominate Theresa Russell’s portrayal of ‘The Actress’ in the 1985 movie, Insignificance; Madonna in her ‘Material Girl’ video and ‘Homage to Norma Jean’ photo shoot; Drew Barrymore’s George magazine cover shot from 1996; and Angelina Jolie’s recreation of Monroe’s 1961 session with Douglas Kirkland.

In your opinion, what are the best – and worst – portrayals of Marilyn around? Or can nobody match the sublime MM?

The Art of Marilyn in Crete

Painter and ES member Elizabeth Grammaticas visited the ‘Marilyn Monroe in the Arts’ exhibition in Crete last week, and has shared her thoughts (and photos) with us.

I have posted a small selection, but you can see many more over at the ES forum.

‘I attended the “Marilyn Monroe in the Arts” Exhibition at DEKK Exhibition Center in Crete a few days ago, and was pleasantly surprised with the exhibition. The exhibition is up until 10/30 if anyone happens to be in Crete in the time (*does ‘happening’ to be in Crete actually happen? I lucked out and was on vacation with my dad there and saw the signs).

It was a larger exhibition than I expected, as well as intelligently done. Here’s some more pics of my favorites.’

‘1)This first piece is my favorite. It’s “Changing the Story of MM”. It contains four panels of Marilyn’s image being digitally altered. First is one of the famous Kelley nudes, with Marilyn Pregnant. Then a Bert Stern with a woman covering her up. Marilyn surrounded by a large asian family..and finally…another nude female with Marilyn in the “Something’s Got to Give” pool scene. I think this piece hit the nail on the head with so much of what we see with Marilyn’s story being constantly retold and reimagined based on the story teller.’

‘2) I liked these silhouette type images of Marilyn as well. I love how the icon is so clearly recognizable without the need for an image of the person to actually be there. (my camera didn’t get the photo well enough to see the artist.)’

‘3)I love that they had these Rizzo photos!

Each section of the exhibition had large signs elaborating on her life, image, and impact. I have the exhibition book which contains most of the exhibition, and then some.’

‘The videos in the exhibition were a good variety. Before you go into the exhibition, there is a projection of Marilyn’s performance at the JFK Gala. In the “White dress” section, they had a Sam Shaw interview playing. Another part of the exhibition had chairs to sit down and watch various Marilyn movie trailers.’

‘They also had two video pieces, one titled “No,No,No!”. It was mostly “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” footage, but without Marilyn in it. You hear the audio track looped of Marilyn singing the pre-diamonds intro of”!”, and see various men and people surrounding her, except Marilyn is cut out. So you just see the crowds of people demanding her attention, and her going ‘no no no nono’. It was a bit eerie walking in the exhibtion with all these images and manipulations of Marilyn’s image and hearing her voice going “No no nono!”.

They had another video looped of the paddle scene in “The Misfits” with one video on top with the paddle, the other with the zoom shot of her rear bouncing back and forth.

In addition to these videos, they also had slide shows of Marilyn magazine covers, celebrities impersonating Marilyn, and Marilyn photos not in the exhibition.

Most of the art is from Europe, and most of it is from a few collections in Vienna and Germany.’

Opening Shots: Bus Stop

A further extract from Richard Dyer’s Heavenly Bodies, considering Marilyn’s first scene in Bus Stop. Screencaps by likeabalalaika

“The first shot of Monroe, as so often in her films, is a point-of-view shot. But it is not Beau, the hero’s, point of view but Virgil, his mentor’s. Indeed, as the latter looks out of the hotel bedroom window, the film cuts to her (Virgil’s point-of-view) and then back to Beau shaving, underlining the fact that he does not see her (and will not until the saloon scene.) This means that the shots of her that follow can articulate more than Monroe as an object of desire, because they have not been set up as contained by desire in the first place.

Virgil’s point-of-view shot is a long shot, and it is followed by a mid-shot (at the same looking-down-at-her angle), then a return to the long shot. In this way, we get to see her better than Virgil does. In one sense, this satisfies our voyeurism – both sexual (we have a better view than Virgil) and in terms of narrative, character and star (we want to know who she is, what Monroe looks like in this part, and so on.)

In the second long shot, a group of men enter the room, crowding around her as she tries to fend them off.  They are broken up by the saloon owner who clears them out and then yells at her to get back to work. The image very clearly sets out the dimensions of male power (of the male audience/clients, of the male employer) within which Cherie/Monroe is caught. She is also caught in our/the camera/Virgil’s gaze, but what we see articulates something of what it is like to be gazed at. We gaze at an image that hints at the politics of gazing.

The scene that follows takes place inside the dressing room, no longer seen by Virgil. It allows us to see Cherie/Monroe close to, and to observe what we could not in the opening shots, which preserve something of the magic and beauty of the half-dressed woman glimpsed from a hotel window. Her hair looks as if it has been peroxided (it would not convince us that she was a natural blonde); her face looks deathly white; her stockings have holes in them. This deglamourising continues in the ungainly way she gets into her green sateen leotard. Scenes in showgirls’ dressing rooms are usually voyeuristic – ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ plays with our expectations of ‘seeing something we shouldn’t’ by teasing camera movements and set-ups, delaying our actually seeing Elsie/Monroe till she has just finished dressing. The treatment in ‘Bus Stop’ is, by contrast, head-on. There is nothing we don’t see (within the conventions of the period), but there is no sense of our being there just to see something, no tease to lead us on as in ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. We are there to see it, it is true, and the fact that we are seeing Marilyn Monroe getting into a leotard must lend itself to the pleasure of voyeurism, but the ungainliness, the matter-of fact conversation with a woman who isn’t a showgirl, the tacky setting, none encourages this way of looking. Moreover, the movement shows us the showgirl setting up her act and the conversation stresses wanting to get beyond doing this kind of thing, so that within an image that is traditionally set up for the pleasure of gazing, we are again getting some explorations of what it means to be someone who lives by being gazed at.”

Megan Fox Explains Tattoo Removal

While promoting her new comedy, Friends With Kids, at last week’s Toronto Film Festival, actress Megan Fox explained to CinemaBlend why she has removed her Marilyn tattoo. (She initially told Amica magazine last month that the tattoo had ‘negative energy’ and that Monroe was ‘bipolar’ and ‘addicted’. Fans were annoyed by this seemingly rather glib remark, but to her credit, Megan has now tried to set the record straight.)

“The tattoo on your arm [of Marilyn Monroe’s face] is in the movie, and I don’t think I had seen it before on screen.
It’s in the movie? We didn’t cover it with makeup? I wonder if that was a mistake. Maybe she let me have it because of the character. I didn’t even think about that.

Has that tattoo been tricky for you?
Just the logistics of having a call time that’s three hours earlier than everyone else’s because you have to cover your tattoos. That’s enough to make you want to remove them.

So is that the reason to get rid of it?
That’s not the first reason. I went through a phase where I just wanted to get rid of anything that I felt had any negativity surrounding it at all. There’s been so much debate about did she commit suicide, was she murdered, there’s so much negativity around her. It’s not like I needed to have it on my body. It’s not that I don’t love her–I got it in the first place because everyone loves Marilyn. But she suffered a lot.

And that’s another part of growing up too.
Yeah, the things you love as a child as a teenager, and you grow out of them. You’re not as connected to them the older you get. That’s something I’m experiencing with my tattoos and other parts of my life.”

Marilyn, Roswell and Tracy Lawrence

Not another UFO sighting, but a track by country artist Tracy Lawrence from his new album, The Singer – about a beautiful, mysterious woman, ‘somewhere between Roswell and Marilyn Monroe’.

“‘Roswell and Marilyn Monroe’ is one of the most unique pieces of music that Lawrence has ever recorded,” reports Music News Nashville. “Just when you think it’s going to flow in one direction, it turns in another. That’s not a knock, just to say that Lawrence takes a few musical chances here that he might have never taken before.”

You can listen to the song here