Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Behind the Scenes of My Week with Marilyn

This is a big week for films as Hollywood unveils some of its biggest Oscar and blockbuster contenders over the usually heavy movie going Thanksgiving weekend. And a huge week for book to movie fans. We've got The Descendants, based on Kaui Hart Hemmings novel expanding into more theatres. Martin Scorses's Hugo based on Brian Selznick's The Adventures of Hugo Cabret - and Scoresese's love song to films. And My Week with Marilyn, based on two books by Colin Clark, The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn.
Michelle Williams and Simon Curtis, the director of My Week with Marilyn were on Piers Morgan last night. Curtis, a first time director, said that what attracted him to Michelle's work is that she always brings such psychological details to her work. Anyone who saw her work in Blue Valentine can attest to that.
When Michelle was asked what surprised her when she delved into Marilyn's character, Williams responded in a very Marilyn-like breathy tone "Oh gosh! I suppose the biggest discovery was that Marilyn Monroe was a character and how we commonly think of her was a part she played. The  truth was she was a very complex woman." After Morgan played a clip from the film, he said what I'd been thinking.
"You are Marilyn" he said, "It's wierd."
"Oh gosh" Williams purred again.
Curtis said "It was truly thrilling to see Marilyn on our set and to see what Michelle was doing, it was just fantastic."
While not quite as gorgeously voluptuous, Williams does seem to channel Marilyn, to completely get under her skin. The New York Times magazine has a clip on Marilyn Monroe getting into character. It's really fascinating to watch her trying on poses, self correcting and finding a place that feels right for her. You can watch the clip here although one must add, actors don't usually do this with cameras rolling. Or didn't use to. In our current age where every moment is a potential You tube hit, everything is fair game.
Williams clearly empathizes with Marilyn Monroe - that nack for empathy is a trait that separates great  actors from the rest - and has said she has never cried so much over a character before.
"I've never spent this long with a character before. Her struggle was valliant. That moves me when someone is fighting against themselves or the outside world"
I've also attached a five minute B-roll video showing some fascinating behind the scenes of the film.

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