Two Marilyn Monroe movies for the price of, well, two – which quite possibly means $50 by the time they come out.
One, to be called Blonde, will star King Kong's Naomi Watts as Monroe, apparently having affairs right and left. Based on Joyce Carol Oates' fictionalized Monroe “memoirs,” Blonde will be directed by Andrew Dominik, best known for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. (Poppy Montgomery played Monroe in a 2001 miniseries based on Oates' book.)
The other, called My Week with Marilyn, will star Brokeback Mountain's Michelle Williams as the Monroe who gave Laurence Olivier headaches and Vivien Leigh jealousy attacks while Olivier directed/co-starred with the Hollywood star in The Prince and the Showgirl, shot in England in 1957.
Simon Curtis, who has done lots of television work in the UK, will direct My Week with Marilyn.
A couple of other times when producers had the same idea of making movies about tragic blonde actresses of the past:
In 1965, there were two movies about 1930s MGM star Jean Harlow. As if that wasn't confusing enough, both were called Harlow. One starred Carroll Baker and was critically panned (though it looks good); the other, a low-budget production, starred Carol Lynley and disappeared without a trace.
In the early 1980s, there were two movies about 1930s Paramount star Frances Farmer. One, called Frances (1982), starred Jessica Lange, who earned a Best Actress nomination for her performance. The other was the 1983 television production Will There Really Be a Morning? (based on Farmer's autobiography), starring Susan Blakely.
Murphy, who had roles in Clueless, 8 Mile, and Just Married, died of pneumonia five months ago. She was 32.
Monjack, who had been suffering from a serious heart condition, co-wrote the original story of Factory Girl. The 2006 film – Captain Mauzner received screenplay credit – starred Guy Pearce and Sienna Miller as pop cult figure Andy Warhol and one of his muses, Edie Sedgwick. George Hickenlooper directed.
Monjack also directed, produced, and co-wrote (with Nick McDowell and Jessica Wells) the 2001 drug-rehabilitation drama Two Days, Nine Lives, starring Luke Goss and Sienna Guillory.
'Fair Game' reviews
Fair Game, which Summit Entertainment will release in the United States, stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn as, respectively, covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson.
The film is set in 2003, when the George W. Bush White House, doing all in its power to come up with reasons — however nefarious — to invade Iraq, leaked Plame's identity in July of that year, thus endangering not only her life but also the lives of those who had assisted her in her missions.
The Bush government then proceeded to distort the facts about Wilson's own mission to Niger some time earlier, telling the world that Saddam Hussein had been trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
The White House's intent: to discredit Wilson's New York Times op-ed piece, in which he asserted that Bush and his cohorts had manipulated intelligence data to justify the United States' imminent invasion of Iraq.
Based on Valerie Plame's 2007 book of the same name, Fair Game was adapted by Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth. The title is derived from a statement Karl Rove made to MSNBC's Chris Matthews in July '03: "Wilson's wife is fair game."
Below are snippets from a few Fair Game reviews:
"Fair Game might be one of the best spy movies ever, even if it contains little skullduggery. Like a John le Carré novel, its story shows how things really work and how compromised lives can become when one must serve more than one master." The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt, who also says that the real-life couple are "extremely well-played by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn."
"What Fair Game delivers doesn't quite live up to that promise, but it does introduce a director ready to move into his own, and above-the-title. It's mature, smart and engaging and, critically, strikes a new tone for Liman's work, suggesting he's got plenty of versatility." Joe Utichi at Cinematical.
"After delivering genre excitement with varying degrees of success in The Bourne Identity (excellent), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (glossy trashy fun) and Jumper (a blatant sellout no one wanted to buy), Doug Liman tries to bridge the distance between run-and-gun excitement and solid, serious drama with Fair Game, … It's a well-made and stirring movie, on the level of both the personal (How will this marriage survive?) and the political (How will this nation survive?). Fair Game is nicely shot, written in a blunt and brisk style that assumes you're capable of following along, a rare pleasure in the modern American cinema." James Rocchi at IFC.com.