8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter

44 ENDPG The Prince and the Showgirl H
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Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier filmed at Pinewood Studios in London. It would be 13 years before Olivier would direct another film.


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Making 1957's The Prince and the Showgirl was not the perfect honeymoon for Marilyn Monroe, who had married Arthur Miller two weeks before flying to England to begin filming. The concept was to have Sir Laurence Olivier, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his generation, paired with Monroe, who was great in many ways but not a classically trained actress. They'd film a semicomedic romp about a prince from a mythical Central European country who falls for an actress in 1911. The Hollywood Reporter review said the plot "is not particularly important." What became important during filming was how poorly Olivier, 49, who also produced and directed, and Monroe, 30, got along. Depending on whose side you take, he was pompous, pretentious and insulting; she was a flake who didn't learn her lines and kept arriving on set late. At one point, Monroe asked Olivier the standard method-actor question about her motivation in a scene, and he replied, "To finish it without fluffing your lines, darling -- and try to be sexy." Prince was a box-office disappointment, but the story of its making is the basis for Simon Curtis' My Week With Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh, which opened Nov. 23.