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Michelle Williams - The New Marilyn

Luglio 2012
Dal personaggio volutamente sbiadito e sofferto di Alma, in Brokeback Mountain, all’icona assoluta del cinema. Michelle Williams ha spazzato via tutti i dubbi: interpretare Marilyn con successo è possibile. Ecco come si è preparata all’impresa.

di Jonathan Cameron

File audio:

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn
Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn

Speaker (audio): Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Speaker (video): Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

Michelle Williams first came to the attention of film fans when she had a part in Ang Lee’s 2005 hit movie, Brokeback Mountain. She played Alma and the project led to a romantic relationship with Heath Ledger, with whom she had a child, although they were no longer together when Ledger died in 2008, at the age of 28.
Michelle Williams’ career has continued and she recently had the lead role in another excellent film, My Week With Marilyn, which is directed by Simon Curtis. It is based on a true story about the time when Marilyn Monroe went to England to work on a film with the great British actor, Sir Laurence Olivier. The film was The Prince and the Pauper and it was released in 1957. During her time in England Marilyn had a brief flirtation with a young assistant director, Colin Clark. Clark, who was the son of the famous Renaissance art critic, Sir Kenneth Clark, recorded the story in his diary.
When Michelle Williams presented the film, she was asked about her thoughts on the myth of Marilyn Monroe:

Michelle Williams (Standard American accent)

I grew up with a picture of her in my bedroom and it was this picture of her and she’s wearing a white dress and she’s at Roxbury with Arthur Miller and she’s sort of spinning through the trees. So my primary association with her wasn’t of the icon, it wasn’t of the sort of sex symbol, it was like a girl-to-girl kind of relationship that I had, I didn’t feel like she was sort of holding something over me, some kind of sexual power that I didn’t understand, she was just a girl spinning in the trees.


And she learned many new things about Marilyn while making the film:

Michelle Williams

When I was first prepping to play Marilyn, what I didn’t understand was the separation between her persona and who she was on the inside, and what I came to realise, after reading a lot about her, spending time poring over images and films and press recordings, little video clips, was that Marilyn Monroe, how you commonly think of Marilyn Monroe, that was a character, that was an act, a finely honed act that she put on, that she’d developed over time, with input from teachers, a lot of sort of just face time in the mirror, figuring out how to move in a way that accented what she had naturally. Marilyn Monroe was a character that she developed.


Sir Laurence Olivier is played by Kenneth Branagh who, like Michelle Williams, received an Oscar nomination:

Michelle Williams

What he brings to the role, what he brings to a conversation, what he brings to the hair and make-up trailer, that man is like a force of nature and he takes the weather with him wherever he goes. We were both so absorbed in what we were doing and most often kind of locked into our computer, with headphones on, listening to the voices of the people that we were trying to capture, watching their faces move. So he and I were sort of on like different sort of command centrals! But he gave the greatest piece of film set advice I’ve ever been given. I was standing around on set one day in my very tight dress, very wiggy wig, and I (she means “he” - ed) said, “Darling, darling, darling, darling, I’ve got a great piece of advice for you!” I forget who he got it from. He said, “Why stand when you can sit, and why sit when you can lay down? So, please, make yourself comfortable!” And it really is true, you really... it’s actually a good idea, why not lay down whenever you have the opportunity, so you can conserve your energy? So I’ve taken that story to every set that I’ve been on since, and now it’s my Kenneth Branagh story!

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When I was prepping to play Marilyn. Quando mi stavo preparando per interpretare Marilyn. To prep è un’abbreviazione del verbo to prepare.
Si usa in teatro (per indicare la ricerca che fanno gli attori) ma anche negli ospedali: To prep the patient significa preparare il paziente per un intervento chirurgico. Prep è anche un’abbreviazone dell’aggettivo preparatory. In Inghilterra a prep school è un college per bambini tra gli 8 e 13 anni. Negli Stati Uniti invece è un college per studenti più grandi, spesso provenienti da famiglie benestanti. Da qui il termine preppy, un giovane ricco e un po’ arrogante.

Honed. Perfezionato. La parola hone significa letteralmente una pietra per affilare coltelli, ma oggi è molto più comune come verbo. Si dice spesso hone your skills, perfezionare le tue capacità.

He takes the weather with him wherever he goes. Porta il tempo con sé, ovunque vada. Questa frase dà l’idea che Branagh è una forza della natura, che la sua mera presenza influenza il tempo che fa.