Gaultier’s Marilyn-Inspired Gift

A small gossip item, related to Michelle Williams’ victory at the Golden Globe Awards, appears in the New York Daily News:

‘Williams won a Best Actress Globe for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn,” and we hear that last week, fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier sent the actress a Globes good-luck gift that was kinky but apparently effective: one of 60 limited-edition Piper Heidsieck Champagne bottles he’d dressed in a black leather sheath and studded crystal fishnet stockings. Monroe once famously said she began “every morning with a glass” of Piper-Heidsieck.’

Actually, I’m pretty sure Marilyn preferred Dom Perignon. But it’s the thought that counts!

In Praise of Michelle Williams

Over at Betty Confidential, Melissa Carter admits that she liked Michelle Williams’ performance in My Week With Marilyn more than she expected:

“It was incredibly ambitious and brave to take on this role. For any woman to offer herself up for comparison to an icon, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all time, is daring, to say the least. But Michelle nailed it. You soon forget that it is a performance and begin to truly see the essence of the iconic figure whose image you have mindlessly viewed a thousand times. Michelle did what even Marilyn was never able to do for me: show her as a sympathetic, complex woman possessing more depth than her pin-up image offered. Because of Michelle, I appreciate Marilyn more than ever.”

Meanwhile, Mary Plumb at The Mountain Astrologer compares Michelle’s birth chart to Marilyn’s:

“I saw her newest movie, My Week with Marilyn, this weekend and wondered what kind of connection she might have with Monroe.

Williams’s north node at 20° Leo is conjunct Marilyn’s natal Neptune; her south node at 20° Aquarius is conjunct Marilyn’s Moon.

That so well describes the kind of compelling attraction that nodal connections can indicate. I’m thinking too of Williams’s ability to capture the beguiling (and sorrowful) quality of Marilyn’s appeal. She was able to feel deeply into Marilyn’s emotional nature — at least enough to create a beguiling film presence herself.

Williams was born on the day of a New Moon at 16°50 Virgo. (The Moon traveled between 14° – 26° Virgo that day.) She has the Sun, Jupiter, (and maybe the Moon) closely square to Neptune. Her sturdy Virgo nature is also porous and malleable, a gift for an actor.

Marilyn has the Moon opposite Neptune; her public image was powerfully erotic and open to projection. Saturn in Scorpio in the 4th house is squaring the opposition; her early life was one of emotional devastation.”

The Many Faces of Sadness

As part of the ‘Reel Sex’ series at Film School Rejects, Gwen Reyes looks back at My Week With Marilyn.

‘The thing about beauty is it can be a lonely sort of curse. One can only have the face she is born with, and no amount of doctoring or modern-day photo manipulation can truly change that. Look at Marilyn Monroe. At her peak, she was the world’s most beautiful woman; and at her lowest she was a tragic figure whose hidden sadness touched every character she performed—even the character “Marilyn Monroe.” It’s only fitting that a stunning actress best known for her ability to emote relatable sadness would take on the daunting task of playing Monroe.

Michelle Williams tackled the icon’s emotional instability with such aplomb and grace that it was often impossible to tell the actress from the character in My Week With Marilyn. Williams’ Marilyn dealt with her crippling sadness by playing with and seducing a young production assistant (played by Eddie Redmayne) who idolized the woman and relished in the moments of vulnerability she let escape her carefully crafted character. This tragic Monroe would smile through her tears, but the truth was always there under the surface—her pain was too great and too all encompassing to not use her sex appeal as a way to feel something, anything. Even if it was the intoxicating gaze of her male fans.’

Facts, Fiction and ‘My Week With Marilyn’

Photo montage by Marilynette Lounge

Sarah Churchwell (author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe) talks to NPR about My Week With Marilyn. (Photo collage by The Marilynette Lounge)

“Michelle Williams’ performance is really quite extraordinary. And as you could hear even in the clip that you played there, she gets the voice unbelievably well. And she also gets Monroe’s in trademark mannerisms. But she resists the temptation to fall into the stereotype of the breathy whisper. She lets her speak like a human being and yet, it sounds and looks like Marilyn. So, that part I think they do really well.

Overall, however, the problem is, is what they’ve chosen to do is to film a story that is only very broadly based in fact. And a lot of its claims, I think most people who know about Marilyn’s life and work are pretty skeptical of the claims of the author of this book to have had some kind of a fling with her.

I mean, look, the basic facts of it are perfectly true. He was the third assistant director on “The Prince and the Showgirl,” which was made in 1956. He certainly met Marilyn and worked with her…(But) he does claim that she told him all kinds of intimate details, which coincidentally appear in virtually every biography of her.

So, there’s nothing in these books specifically about Marilyn that he couldn’t had found out. And more importantly, he waited some 40 years after the fact to publish them, which does make one think, you know, having read all of these biographies, that he capitalized on her fame and her familiarity and wrote a couple of books claiming a little bit more than happened.”


‘My Week With Marilyn’: Truth or Fantasy?

The Los Angeles Times reports on the mystery surrounding Colin Clark’s story in My Week With Marilyn, speaking to Michelle Williams, and also those who knew Monroe well during this period, including Amy Greene and Joan Copeland (Arthur Miller’s sister.)

‘Michelle Williams, who spent months watching Monroe’s films and devouring biographies on her, acknowledges that she found Clark to be an “unreliable narrator.”

“When you read both of his books, you do get the sense that he’s writing with the advantage of hindsight, and he’s put some awfully big words in his own mouth,” said the actress, who added that before filming she did not speak to anyone who had known Monroe personally. “I think he says in the book that Marilyn wanted to make love, but he said, ‘Oh, no!’ And you’re like, ‘Oh, sure.’ I’m sure that there was a relationship there. To what extent it was consummated, I don’t know.”

“I was there every day, and I knew what was happening. [Clark] was on the set, and he was a gofer — ‘Hey, I need a cup of coffee,’ or whatever. No one regarded him as anything but a gofer,” said Amy Greene, the widow of Milton Greene, a photographer who was vice president of Monroe’s production company…

Director Simon Curtis and screenwriter Adrian Hodges denied they were ever approached by Greene’s relatives. “The fact that these books were in the public arena and had been cherished by people over the years gave me confidence,” said Curtis. “I have no reason to doubt Colin’s version. Who is to say what happened in those bedrooms on those nights?”

“I never heard anything about the romance. That might be somebody’s illusion. Arthur would not have talked to me about that anyway, if there was an affair,” Copeland said. “But as far as I know, the [other] events they describe are pretty accurate. She was often late and kept people waiting on set. And I know that Arthur found it very difficult to work in that situation.”

But Don Murray, 82, who costarred with Monroe in “Bus Stop,” the film she acted in immediately before “Showgirl,” said he thought a Monroe-Clark romance was conceivable.

“I think that it’s quite possible, because of the disillusionment of her marriage, and she was very, very insecure in her relationships and didn’t really believe in loving forever,” Murray said. “I think it’s quite plausible that something happened and they handled it discreetly.”‘

Top 10: Actors Playing Stars

Montage by Marilynette Lounge

Michelle Williams’ performance in My Week With Marilyn  inspired Flavorwire to compile a list of ten outstanding movie roles by actors playing other actors, including Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and Jessica Lange as Frances Farmer.

Meanwhile, Scott Fortner has reviewed My Week With Marilyn on his MM Collection Blog:

“My overall impressions of MWWM are mixed.  There are parts of the film I really loved, yet parts that in my opinion are truly dreadful and questionable.  With that said, I encourage all Marilyn Monroe fans to check out the film and come to their own conclusions.  I will say that I think acting by Williams, Branagh and Dench is quite spectacular (even though I still don’t know who exactly Williams was portraying in most scenes) and I won’t be at all surprised if the lot of them are nominated for Oscars.”

Leonard Maltin Praises Michelle as Marilyn

Leading US film critic Leonard Maltin gives My Week With Marilyn a positive review, citing Michelle Williams’ performance as its real highlight. The movie opens in the US later today, and in the UK on Friday.

“If we can believe Williams as the famous sex symbol, we can begin to accept her as the real woman off-camera. What she achieves isn’t mimicry but an absorption of the character that is both persuasive and appealing. It’s easy to see how she manipulated the people around her, whether deliberately or not….’My Week With Marilyn’ isn’t revelatory in any way, but its credibility on every level makes it highly entertaining, like reading a juicy show-business book filled with backstage gossip. Michelle Williams deserves all the accolades she’s been receiving, because without her there’s no movie. She convinces us that she is that ravishing, impossible, heartbreaking figure we’ve all read so much about.”

Meanwhile, footage from Michelle’s photoshoot with Brigitte Lacombe has surfaced via the New York Times.