Brad Pitt Praises Ana de Armas’ ‘Phenomenal’ Performance as Marilyn Monroe in ‘Blonde,’ Despite Accent Backlash

The “Bullet Train” star says the actress helped get the film “across the finish line”

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Brad Pitt praised Ana de Armas’ performance as Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming feature film “Blonde” at the premiere of his newest film, “Bullet Train,” on Monday.

“She’s phenomenal in it,” he told ET. “That’s a tough dress to fill.”

Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates and co-produced by Pitt’s own Plan B Entertainment, “Blonde” will dramatize Monroe’s life and career is available on Netflix Sept. 28. The NC-17 adaptation will also star Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Xavier Samuel, Julianne Nicholson, Evan Williams, David Warshofsky, Toby Huss, Dan Bitler, Sara Paxton and Rebecca Wisock.

“It was 10 years in the making,” Pitt said of the film. “It wasn’t until we found Ana that we could get it across the finish line.”

The actress, who has credits in movies like “Knives Out,” “No Time to Die” and “The Gray Man,” will portray Monroe, as shown in the trailer that dropped last month. Critics quickly pointed out that they could still hear de Armas’ Cuban accent, which doesn’t match how Monroe actually sounded.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Monroe’s estate has weighed in on that backlash, defending de Armas’ work as the cultural icon.

“Marilyn Monroe is a singular Hollywood and pop culture icon that transcends generations and history,” said Marc Rosen, president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the owner of the Marilyn Monroe Estate, in a statement. “Any actor that steps into that role knows they have big shoes to fill. Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Ana was a great casting choice as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity and vulnerability. We can’t wait to see the film in its entirety!”

De Armas was born in Cuba and studied acting in Spain. She worked with a dialogue coach for nine months before production on “Blonde” began. 

“Marilyn has served as a muse and inspiration to fans of all genders, all ethnicities and all walks of life, and her influence will only continue,” Rosen added. “There are no rules when it comes to how an artist can pay homage to her legacy.”

Author Joyce Carol Oates has seen a rough cut of Andrew Dominik’s film, which will premiere at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival, two years ago. Tweeting her reaction, she called it a “startling, brilliant, very disturbing & [perhaps most surprisingly] an utterly ‘feminist’ interpretation.”