Deneuve: ‘Marilyn Has My Greatest Admiration’

Catherine Deneuve, the 67 year-old star of such classic films as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Repulsion and Belle De Jour, has spoken about her favourite actresses, past and present:

“Who are the actresses you admire?

I admire Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. I like a lot of comedians. I like Cameron Diaz—she’s funny and has a very light spirit. That’s quite rare nowadays. There are many actresses I admire. But, Marilyn Monroe has my greatest admiration.

What do you especially admire about Monroe?

She was able to do everything! I saw her as one of the best actresses; she could go from comedy to drama. Being great at both is very difficult. And, she was so beautiful. Onscreen, it was like the light was coming from her.”

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Deneuve’s admiration of Monroe is long-standing: The Misfits is her favourite movie, and she narrated a French-made documentary, Norma Jean dite Marilyn Monroe, in 1986. You can watch it on Youtube

‘The Star Who Could Act’

‘Bus Stop’ (1956)

Meredith L. Grau writes about how ‘Youtube killed the movie star’ today at L.A. LaLa Land.

“Marilyn Monroe is the last great movie star. The biggest movie star. She represents both the heights of studio produced star power and the transition to the actor star. She stands too as the greatest sacrifice of such an alteration, falling into the strange and indescribable black abyss between the ‘movie personality’ and the ‘true artist.’ Though there were large names and memorable faces to follow hers, Marilyn alone stands as our great Christ symbol: she paid the price of stardom and sacrificed herself for our love and respect. What we responded to in Marilyn was not just her beauty but her genuineness. When people describe her as being likable for her vulnerability or her innocence, what they are truly referring to is her humanity. We loved her because she was larger than life and real– a goddess you could reach out and touch. Marilyn’s sadness was somehow always palpable, always present (as seen right). Whereas I am always in awe of the way Rita Hayworth could draw the shade and hide her inner sorrow from her screen performances, Marilyn could not do the same. Initially, she made a concerted effort to mask her complex nature behind her star-making doe-eyed stares, the sensuous movements of her mouth, or her infamous walk, but despite this, little Norma Jean was always there. Later, she used her personal torments and fears, the things that she had originally fought to disguise, to deepen her acting and her performances. She became the star who could act, and our love of her only increased when the little girl she had kept masked behind her caricatured performances was let loose into more complicated and interesting roles. The full-fledged, unadulterated, massively contrived, and absolutely magnificent movie star, thus, died when she did.”

Newsweek at the Movies

Michelle Williams, currently starring in Blue Valentine, has spoken to Newsweek about her role as MM in the forthcoming My Week With Marilyn. You can watch her here, along with James Franco and Nicole Kidman, discussing their own experiences of playing iconic, real-life characters such as James Dean and Virginia Woolf on the big screen.

Michelle is also cover girl for February’s Marie-Claire in the UK.

Kim Cattrall On Marilyn

“As Kim and I were chatting, we were joined by the adorable writer Jacob Bernstein and some others. One of the guys — it’s always guys around Kim! — said: ‘All these actresses playing Marilyn Monroe now [Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts] but you are the one to do it!’ Indeed, Kim has an MM quality and an appreciation — she mentioned Monroe’s Bus Stop at one point, when talking about ‘genuine acting.’ But Miss Cattrall laughed and said, ‘Oh, no, I’m much too old. She died at 36.’ Well, although Kim’s age is no secret, we won’t tell here. However, up close and in person, she looks not a second over 35.”

Liz Smith, WowOwow

Kim Cattrall will reprise her role as Amanda in the Broadway production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives later this year.

Marilyn: ‘Less of an Icon, More of a Friend’

Sam Shaw, 1957
“I grew up with this picture of (Marilyn) in my bedroom. It’s a picture of her at the house in Connecticut, Roxbury where she and Miller lived and this picture of her wearing this white dress and she’s barefoot and she’s spinning and her head’s back and she’s smiling, it very natural. So my primary association of her is of that, so she’s kind of always felt less of an icon and a bit more of a friend. So that was a decent place to start.
There has never been and maybe will never be someone as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe. Like I’m not a drag queen — I’m not going to get plastic surgery to look like her. I have limitations in terms of how much I can resemble her, so instead what I can master, what I can strive for is her essence.”
Michelle Williams discusses her role in My Week With Marilyn at the Aero Theatre, Los Angeles, where a short clip from the upcoming movie was also shown.

TCM Greatest Overlooked Performances

Marilyn in ‘Bus Stop’ (photo by Milton Greene)

TCM includes one of Marilyn’s shining moments in its new list of the Top 10 Greatest Overlooked Performances. Many felt she was denied an Oscar nomination by the Hollywood establishment because of her rebellion against Twentieth Century Fox.

Marilyn Monroe as Cherie in Bus Stop (1956)

“After studying with The Actors Studio, Marilyn Monroe was determined to draw on every painful memory from her past for her role as a small town singer – dubbed a ‘chantoosie’ by her fans – courted by an idealistic cowboy.  She allowed herself to look under-nourished and performed her one musical number badly, ‘That Old Black Magic’, to capture the desperation of a woman who would never achieve her dreams.  As in her other great performance, Sugar Kane Kowalcyzk in Some Like It Hot (1959), the role is a central part of the legend of Marilyn – the beautiful, sensitive loser.  But the film’s success failed to bring her an Oscar nomination or much respect.  Reporters were more interested in signs of star temperament, as when she insisted co-star Hope Lange’s hair be darkened so as not to match hers, than the painstaking efforts she put into one of the best roles she would ever play.  Neither has the passing of time helped fans to appreciate Monroe’s performance, for many aspects of the film have not aged well.  In his dogged pursuit of his ‘Cherry,’ cowboy Don Murray now seems less romantic than criminal – a grating sexual bully.  And Cherie’s ultimate capitulation puts into question all of the dreams that made her so touching.  Beyond the sexual politics, however, the film vividly reveals what Monroe could have done as an actress had Hollywood allowed her to re-invent herself.”

Elle Fanning: Growing Up With Marilyn

Elle Fanning, 12 year-old sister of actress Dakota, stars with Stephen Dorff in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, set in one of her idol Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood haunts – the Chateau Marmont Hotel. (Marilyn spent time there while filming Bus Stop in 1956.)

“I’d been there before for some interviews and photo shoots, but I hadn’t spent that much time there. Now, I feel like I know it so well. When I first got there, I was like, ‘Am I walking where Marilyn Monroe walked?'”

This month Elle tells Interview magazine about her lifelong admiration for MM:

“INTERVIEW: Is there anyone you’d really like to work with? Who was your favourite actor growing up?

ELLE: My favorite actress is Marilyn Monroe.

INTERVIEW: She’s gonna be tricky to work with.

ELLE: Yeah. [laughs]

INTERVIEW: Have you ever seen any of Marilyn Monroe’s films? Or do you just like her look?

ELLE: Yeah, I mean, of course-I love her look and everything. But I’ve seen The Seven Year Itch [1955] and I loved that. I watched that all the time when I was little. I liked the dress. I was her for Halloween when I was 7. I did the makeup and the mole and I did all the poses with blowing kisses and all that …”

Dressed as Marilyn for Halloween ’05, aged 7

Michelle Williams as Marilyn

“I feel like we live together … At a certain point, something else does take over. I don’t quite feel myself these days … I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist, eventually. Physically and vocally, everything about her is different from me. I’ve kind of gone to school and had teachers to help me understand Marilyn, so I could project an essence of her. When I first approached the part, I thought that there were three, even four parts to Marilyn. It rearranges you, it shifts your molecules, lifts you up, spins you around, puts you back down and you’re not quite the same, for better or for worse.”

Baz Bamigboye visits the My Week With Marilyn set and talks to Michelle Williams in today’s Daily Mail

The BBC reports from location shooting in Duxford, Cambridgeshire