After a dozen years, the Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde is finally getting close to a release. And for those who like their films on the racier side, director Andrew Dominik, who first began the process of adapting Joyce Carol Oates’s lauded bestselling novel of the same title in 2010, has made it worth the wait. Earlier this week, the Motion Picture Association officially slapped the Ana de Armas-led film with a rare NC-17 rating, citing “some sexual content” (though it sounds like a bit more than “some”). In doing so, they’ve made Netflix history: While the streaming giant has played host to NC-17 films in the past, it’s never produced one under its own roof. And from what Dominik has said, Blonde might end up making as many waves as the most notable of those titles, Blue Is the Warmest Color, did back in 2013.
“It’s a demanding movie,” Dominik, best known for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, told Screen Daily last month. “If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the fucking audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office.” Evidently, it’s “demanding” enough for the director to have predicted the film’s rating: “It’s an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it’s kind of what you want, right? I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.”
To supply that demand, Dominik assembled just the right cast: de Armas is fresh from starring opposite Ben Affleck in the unsettlingly erotic Deep Water, and Adrien Brody, who plays Monroe’s third husband, the playwright Arthur Miller, hasn’t shied from sex scenes in the past. And as evidenced by a 2012 episode of Boardwalk Empire, Bobby Cannavale, who plays Monroe’s ex Joe DiMaggio, doesn’t have a problem with full-frontal nudity. In fact, nor do many other actors as of late.
“Some sexual content” presumably refers to nudity and sex scenes, but viewers would do well to note that the film isn’t simply a steamy romp. Dominik controversially decided to depict a rape scene that appears in Oates’s novel, prompting Netflix to “insist” on bringing in another editor to “curb the excesses of the movie.” It’s unclear what else fell into that category, but apparently Netflix was just fine with what Screen Daily described as “a scene featuring bloody menstrual oral sex.” Suffice it to say, the movie will be far grittier than Hollywood’s last major Monroe biopic, 2011’s Michelle Williams-starring My Week With Marilyn.
If all that doesn’t deter them, 17-and-unders have some time to get their hands on a non-“kids” Netflix password. There’s no word on a release date since plans fell through for a Cannes Films Festival premiere in May.