Cubana Actress Ana de Armas Talks About How ‘Groundbreaking’ It Is to Be a Latina Playing Marilyn Monroe in a New Movie
Rising star Ana de Armas is putting her acting skills to the test for her next role. The Cuban-born actress–who made a splash for her portrayal of the angelic nurse Marta Cabrera in 2019’s comedy-mystery “Knives Out”–recently filmed a movie called “Blonde.”
The upcoming “Blonde” will be based on a famous novel by Joyce Carol Oates that reimagines and fictionalizes the personal life of Marilyn Monroe. According to the press release, the film will be “through the modern lens of celebrity culture.”
The 32-year-old actress recently opened up about the work she put in to erasing her native Cuban accent and nailing Monroe’s signature breathy inflection.
“I tried!” she told The Sunday Times when asked if she nailed the starlet’s iconic voice. “It only took me nine months of dialect coaching, and practicing, and some ADR sessions [rerecording dialogue after filming].”
She went on to say that learning the voice was “a big torture” and “so exhausting.” “My brain was fried,” she admitted.
De Armas has previously been candid about how much it meant to her to be a Latina woman cast as Marilyn Monroe.
“I only had to audition for Marilyn once and Andrew said ‘It’s you,’ but I had to audition for everyone else. The producers. The money people. I always have people I needed to convince,” she told Vanity Fair last year. “But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so badly.”
In fact, she was so emotionally when she first put on the Marilyn wig and makeup, that she couldn’t hold it together. “I cried, she told Allure. “It was a big, big deal for me. It was a very important role for me, a big challenge, something that I was preparing for a very long time — and to finally sit in the chair and put the wig and makeup on… it was very special.”
Ana de Armas has always been very open in interviews about the difficulties of going up in Cuba, isolated from the rest of the world.
She grew up without many material possessions, hitchhiking to drama school everyday when she was a teenager. When she turned 18, she decided to pick up and move to Spain with $300 in her pocket.
“In Cuba you live in a bubble. I didn’t know what the world was like. I had never travelled before in my life,” she explained to The Sunday Times.
After she found instant success in Spain, she decided to try her luck in Hollywood, moving to Los Angeles in 2014. She knew practically no English and had to learn the language from scratch. “In the beginning I was not getting it at all,” she says about learning English. “But, you know, it’s getting better!”
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