This week American movie theaters open their doors to release the new Simon Curtis romantic adventure that is “My Week With Marilyn.” The film follows the story of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) a young playwright striving for the chance to make his name in the movie industry. Along Colin’s journey he comes across some interesting people, ranging from the brilliant director, Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), to the sweet, beautiful Lucy (Emma Watson) to the crowning star of the movie, Marilyn Monroe, played by the incredible Michelle Williams. Through his travels Colin makes his transition from a young, inspiring movie manager to the love interest of the most beloved woman in the world.
This movie is unlike the others because it brings the audience closer to Marilyn. It shows the audience the heart of a troubled soul and less of just her beautiful face. Marilyn’s character is so complex and intricate that only a brilliant actress such as Williams could encompass the essence of the true Monroe. The biggest challenge that Williams faced was taking on the character’s three personas and fitting them all into one. She had to portray the gorgeous diva, the talented yet unconfident actress and the damaged girl behind a mask of “perfection.” Amazing as it sounds, Williams did this and more, letting the audience see the beauty of Marilyn and the ugliness and turmoil she held within.
The rest of the cast shines in this film as well. The powerhouse of the movie, Oliver, plays Marilyn’s director and struggles with accepting the fame she brings to him. He is faced with the risk of losing his reputation for casting someone who doesn’t seem to have the ambitions he hoped for. Like the other characters in this movie, Olivier shows us how difficult it is not only to be an actor, but also how to represent such a critical point in moviemaking history. These two weeks were not just the filming of a famous Marilyn Monroe movie, but they showed life within the movie industry, how easily love can change (Lucy and Colin) and how simple it is to fall for the one you never thought it was possible to fall in love with.
I had the chance to interview Simon Curtis about his experience directing “My Week with Marilyn.”
The Triangle: What is your personal view of Marilyn Monroe?
Simon Curtis: I didn’t know much more than anybody. I wasn’t a Marilyn fanatic, but I really have enjoyed researching her. I have admired her for having such a tough life yet becoming so successful. It is sad that sometimes she could not be taken seriously because her beauty and emotional damage took over other people’s opinion about her. She had an incredibly famous face, but people don’t know the actress behind the beauty.
TT: How did you come across Colin Clark’s diaries?
SC: I literately went to a bookstore and bought them and truly fell in love with them from the start.
TT: How did Michelle Williams prepare for this amazing role?
SC: She really did her research before the movie even started. She truly encompassed Marilyn for everything she was. It was amazing to see her work so hard yet also see such an incredible actress at work.
TT: What’s been the toughest part about making this movie?
SC: Getting everything into the amount of time we had while also working with each actor’s schedule and getting it put all together.
TT: Did you like having your characters based on real people?
SC: It’s a mixed bag, because you have the clothes, the history, the everything. The person as the actor has to encompass that person, and it can be difficult. There are pros and cons.
TT: What was it like directing a movie within a movie?
SC: Well, because it was only a few minutes, it was actually easy because you knew exactly what you wanted from this part on the movie.
TT: Using Branagh as Olivier, what were your thoughts on this?
SC: He was brilliant because he knows the agony of being an actor. Originally he was working on Thor before the movie, and I was worried I wouldn’t get such a wonderful actor that obviously was made for this role. It gave me so much joy to have someone who truly knows Olivier play him.
TT: Was it easier to be surrounded by such amazingly talented actors?
SC: It was so much better taking advantage of the best actors out there. Even though their schedules were tricky, it was worth it in the end to have such a great cast.
TT: What did you find most interesting about this period in her life?
SC: I think this represents a potential turning point in Marilyn’s life. She has her own production company, is married to Arthur Miller and making this movie in England. Then under the whole story was this love story of Colin and Marilyn.
TT: How was it like casting Emma Watson?
SC: It was interesting casting a 20-year-old girl. I was lucky to be able to pull her out of Brown to have her. But in the movie it makes us think if Colin had not gone after Marilyn, maybe he could have had a great love with Emma Watson’s character.
For me this movie was nothing less than superb. This wonderful story was brought to life so convincingly by the talented cast. The aspect of the movie I found most interesting was the love triangle between Colin, Lucy and Marilyn. Colin, being a “third tier,” saw himself good enough for someone of his own “ranking,” so he decided to ask Lucy out on a date, not realizing in the end she would be the one hardest to obtain and the one who seemed impossible to get near was the easiest one to get close to.
The direction by Curtis was impeccable, making such a short amount of time into a full-length movie and taking such complex people and remaking them into something we could all believe and soon begin to love. “My week with Marilyn” is truly a wonderful treat for anyone who sees it and stands as an eye opener to see what it really means when someone says beauty is only skin deep.