The long-awaited Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde just got a major update. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that the upcoming Netflix film, which will star Blade Runner 2049 and No Time to Die's Ana de Armas as Monroe, has officially earned an NC-17 rating for "some sexual content". This is the highest possible rating that can be given by the Motion Picture Association of America, and is traditionally given to films that feature adult content regarded as suitable for viewers ages 18 and older. This marks the first mainstream film in several years to keep an NC-17 rating, after recent films Midsommar, Wrong Turn, Spiral, and The King's Man all were edited towards an R rating, with Midsommar subsequently releasing an additional unrated cut. Blonde also has the honor of being the first Netflix original film to be given an NC-17 rating.
Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates' 2000 novel of the same name, Blonde is a fictionalized take on Monroe's life, which saw her becoming a cultural icon as an actress, model, and singer up until her death in 1962. The film is written and directed by Andrew Dominik, who previously worked on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly. The project has been in the works in some form or fashion since 2010, with Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain originally lined up to star at different points and time.
De Armas was cast in March of 2019, with production beginning that August. Cast members on the project also include Adrian Brody as Arthur Miller, Bobby Cannavale as Joe DiMaggio, Caspar Phillipson as John F. Kennedy, Julianne Nicholson as Gladys Pearl Baker, Toby Huss as Alan "Whitey" Snyder, Xavier Samuel as Charles Chaplin Jr., and Luke Whoriskey as James Dean.
In the years since production on Blonde commenced, rumors have swirled about the project, with some speculating that Dominik was clashing with Netflix over the final cut of the movie. In an interview with ScreenDaily earlier this year, Dominik confirmed that wasn't the case, and that his hope was for the film to retain its NC-17 rating.
"It's a demanding movie," Dominik explained. "If the audience doesn't like it, that's the f-cking audience's problem. It's not running for public office."
"It's an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it's kind of what you want, right?" Dominik added. "I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story."
Blonde is expected to be released by Netflix at a later date.