Simon Curtis, director of My Week With Marilyn, talks to Get Hampshire about recreating the famous photo call with the Millers and the Oliviers, outside the house in Englefield Green where Marilyn stayed briefly in July 1956.
‘The grandiose house, in Wick Lane, was rented by Monroe (played in the film by Michelle Williams), then newlywed to Arthur Miller (played by Dougray Scott), and the visit coincided with the pair’s honeymoon.
Curtis added: “It was the house that was the attraction.
“They came because she was working on the film and so they got the most luxurious house they could for her, while she was working.”
The London-born director explained that the shoot took a few days and amounted to “just a few minutes” of the movie’s total running time.
He said that although some interior shots were filmed on a sound stage, several others, including the famous press shot of the newlyweds stood in the doorway of the house, were filmed on location to add authenticity.’
Mike Pope worked as a gardener for the Oliviers at their Notley Abbey home in Buckinghamshire when Marilyn Monroe came to England to film The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956. Marilyn and her husband, Arthur Miller, stayed at nearby Parkside House, Englefield Green, Surrey.
Pope recalls that Vivien Leigh loved tending roses, but his memories of the Millers are succinct:
“He was around for what he hoped would be the most amazing visitor of all – Marilyn Monroe, who was coming to discuss her role with Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl.
‘We’d been brushing our hair for weeks in anticipation,’ he smiles. But then landed a major blow.
‘We were told by the head gardener that no one was to come up to the house while Marilyn and her husband, Arthur Miller, were staying.
We asked who was going to milk the cattle and remove the cowpats – the Oliviers liked it all tidied up – but they were adamant. In the end the security guards had to milk the cows by hand for two days!'”