I just saw My Week With Marilyn at the New York Film Festival, and it turns out to be a sweet and incisive true story about a production assistant’s interplay with the screen legend during the tumultuous filming of The Prince and the Showgirl.
The gofer, Colin Clark (played with youthful wonder by Eddie Redmayne) develops some very strong insight into the whole star-crossed mess.
As he puts it in the film, Olivier was a great actor trying to be a movie star and Marilyn was a movie star trying to be a great actor. And Showgirl wouldn’t really serve either of their ambitions.
On set, Marilyn drove Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) batty, while co-star Sybil Thorndike (Judi Dench) defended her right to be erratic yet genius, Paula Strasberg (Zoe Wanamaker) stroked her with gushing and motivations, and others fed her pills and protection.
Throughout this, the tortured Marilyn longed to be loved for herself and got a taste of that with her fling with Colin before hubby Arthur Miller flew back to her side to try to calm her insecurities one more time.
Anyway, those expecting a lot of boo-poo-pee-dooing will be deeply disappointed.
Williams plays the human side of Marilyn, going for softer, more subtle hues.
At the festival, Williams explained that “Marilyn Monroe was a character that she played and the image you’re most familiar with.
“It was perfectly honed, but it was artifice, something she’d studied and crafted and perfected.
“There was a person underneath that.”
And how did Williams study for her performance?
Well, for the musical bits — yes, she sings — she listened to Marilyn’s recordings and also those of Ella Fitzgerald, who Williams said Marilyn was influenced by.
Wow! Did you know Marilyn was into scat singing?