Michelle Williams, currently starring in Blue Valentine, has spoken to Newsweekabout 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-Clairein the UK.
“You just finished playing Marilyn. Was it amazing?
Many things — amazing being one of them. The movie (‘My Week With Marilyn’) takes place when she was making ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ and married to Arthur Miller. I didn’t stop shooting that long ago, so I’ve still got one foot in it.
Did you read ‘Fragments,’ the book of Marilyn’s writings?
Oh, isn’t that a beautiful book? You know that was an auspicious day on set. We were filming at Park Side House, which is where she stayed when she was in London, and it was our first day there and it was the day the book came out and there are notes in the book written on Park Side House stationary.
Ever come home from work depressed?
Um, look, there is residue, always, always for me. No matter what the role, there’s some residue and rightly so, necessarily so. But my primary commitment in this world is my daughter and I cannot commit myself, not to say I haven’t, but I can’t stay there.
“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 Marilynat the Aero Theatre, Los Angeles, where a short clip from the upcoming movie was also shown.
“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
Clark was the son of art historian Kenneth Clark (Lord Clark of Saltwood), and his better-known brother, Alan Clark, was a Tory MP in the Thatcher government of the 1980s, whose political diaries caused a sensation when they were published in 1993.
Colin Clark’s first memoir about Marilyn, The Prince, the Showgirl and Me (1995) was well-received (Joan Collins called it her favourite book of that year.) It was based on diaries Clark claimed to have kept during filming in 1956.
Five years later, Clark published a sequel, My Week With Marilyn, which he claimed was based on a ‘lost week’ not covered in his diary. He also claimed that he and Marilyn became quite intimate at this time, even (platonically) sharing a bed.
This second volume met with considerable scepticism, not least from Alan Clark who speculated that Colin had fabricated the diaries entirely. Nonetheless, it sold well and the BBC produced a documentary narrated by Colin himself, The Prince, the Showgirl and Me, first aired in 2003, a year after his death.
Though Clark’s books make for quite an enjoyable read, some Monroe researchers have found that dates in his published diaries do not match the original production notes for The Prince and the Showgirl.
Because the source material is contentious, many MM fans are already concerned that this will not be a fair representation of the events of 1956, and in particular the personal and artistic clashes between Monroe and Olivier.
However, it must be granted that the cast and crew appear stellar. Production of My Week With Marilyn is reported to begin in the UK this September, and will allegedly be produced by the Weinstein brothers (former heads of Miramax Films) and directed by Simon Curtis (who recently helmed the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford.