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Blonde, which stars Ana de Armas (Deep Water) as the iconic actress and pinup model, was given the rare adults-only rating for “some sexual content” by the Motion Picture Association on Wednesday.
Director Andrew Dominik previously predicted the film, which is based on Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, would get an NC-17, defiantly telling Screen Daily in February: “It’s a demanding movie. If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the fucking 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? I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.”
The director also said Netflix “insisted” on hiring editor Jennifer Lame (Tenet) “to curb the excesses of the movie,” which includes a rape scene that was also in Oates’ book.
Oates’ acclaimed 2000 novel is a 700-page fictionalized take on Monroe’s life, which The New Yorker once dubbed “the definitive study of American celebrity.”
Netflix has previously streamed NC-17 movies produced by other studios (such as 2013’s Blue Is the Warmest Color), but Blonde seemingly marks the first movie produced by Netflix to receive the hard-core rating.
Dominik has expressed appreciation for Netflix’s support, noting, “It’s much easier to support stuff when you like it. It’s much harder when you don’t. I have nothing but gratitude for Netflix.”
Blonde co-stars Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson. The film was originally rumored to premiere in May outside of competition at Cannes, but reportedly is no longer expected during the festival. If Blonde does open in theaters before moving to streaming, the NC-17 label could be an obstacle for some cinemas that have been reluctant to play films with that rating in the past. However, Netflix often relies on smaller indie chains that may not have the same objections, so it isn’t as significant as if it were a major studio release relying on a wide break. In any case, Netflix has not officially announced any release plan or date as of yet.
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