Ana De Armas' Blonde Director Andrew Dominik Is Baffled By Film's NC-17 Rating

/Film reported back in February that the upcoming biopic of Marilyn Monroe called "Blonde," directed by Andrew Dominik ("Chopper," "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford") has been given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association. If the rating holds through its release, "Blonde" will be the first NC-17-rated film ever put out by its studio, Netflix. As previously reported, Dominik called the rating "a bunch of horse****," saying "If the audience doesn't like it, that's the ****ing audience's problem."

Dominik, in an interview with Vulture, also said that he was "surprised" by the rating, and admits that he's making it at what he calls "a weird time," lambasting Americans for being simultaneously lascivious and prudish:

"I was surprised. Yeah. I thought we'd colored inside the lines. But I think if you've got a bunch of men and women in a boardroom talking about sexual behavior, maybe the men are going to be worried about what the women think. It's just a weird time. It's not like depictions of happy sexuality. It's depictions of situations that are ambiguous. And Americans are really strange when it comes to sexual behavior, don't you think? I don't know why. They make more porn than anyone else in the world."

Additionally, Dominik said that "Blonde" is meant to be challenging and ambiguous, and likes that it might offend. Had it come out a few years earlier, he posits: 

"...[I]t would have come out right when #MeToo hit, and it would have been an expression of all that stuff. We're in a time now, I think, where people are really uncertain about where any lines are. It's a film that definitely has a morality about it. But it swims in very ambiguous waters because I don't think it will be as cut-and-dried as people want to see it. There's something in it to offend everyone."

Rescue me

Little else has been released about "Blonde," other than it will star Ana de Armas as Monroe. In the Vulture interview, Dominik stages his film as being in keeping with the popular myth about Monroe, specifically that many wanted to save her from her dire circumstances: 

"Well, you know, Marilyn's whole vibe was 'rescue me.' Some great feminist writers have said this: Everything that's been written about Marilyn Monroe, whether it's by Norman Mailer or Gloria Steinem, is a rescue fantasy. It's all from the point of view of: 'If I'd been there, I'd have understood her. If I'd been there, she would've been fine.' 'Blonde' the movie is no different, you know?"

The NC-17 rating was first employed in 1990 for the film "Henry & June." The MPA (then the MPAA) sought to employ a workable rating for adults that would separate certain movies from the more appealing-to-youths auspices of an R rating. The MPA has previously used an X rating for such films, but the term "X-rated" was co-opted by the adult film industry and soon the rating was synonymous with porn. Thanks to prudish theaters and home video distributors, something similar happened with NC-17, with some outlets refusing to exhibit or stock any films with the rating. Indeed, exhibiting certain movies would cause stores or theaters to lose their exhibition licenses, making the NC-17 no different from porn as far as theaters were concerned. 

Many films will present alternate cuts to the MPA in order to finally achieve the more commercially viable R rating. NC-17-rated films are few and far between, with the rating only being given to 22 films in the last 20 years. "Blonde" will be the 23rd. With Netflix cooperating with Dominik, however, it looks like "Blonde" will not be blocked by a distributor. 

"Blonde" will hit the platform later this year. It also stars Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Caspar Phillipson, Julianne Nicholson, Sara Paxton, Tony Curtis, and Xavier Samuel.