Ana de Armas' Marilyn Monroe accent sparks debate on latter's Latin roots

Ana De Armas in 'Blonde' and Marilyn Monroe (Image via Netflix, and Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images)
Ana De Armas in 'Blonde' and Marilyn Monroe (Image via Netflix, and Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images)

On Thursday, July 28, Netflix dropped the first trailer for the biopic drama Blonde, which is based on Marilyn Monroe’s life. The Gray Man star Ana de Armas plays the lead role as Monroe, while Andrew Dominik helms the project.

De Armas has successfully mimicked Monroe's appearance in the film with the help of key makeup artist Elena Arroy, key hair stylist Lynnae Duley, and costume designer Jennifer Johnson, amongst others. However, the actress has faced some criticism over her Cuban-Spanish native accent, which manages to slip through her Marilyn Monroe accent, according to some.


This has sparked a debate on Twitter over the use of native accents in biopics with cast members who have different native languages than what was fluently spoken by the figure they are portraying.

Netizens react to Ana de Armas’ voice as Marilyn Monroe


The clips of de Armas’ dialogues as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde have left viewers divided over the 34-year-old Cuba native’s accent. De Armas has previously used her natural Cuban accent throughout most of her roles in Hollywood films. Prior to the release of the trailer for Blonde, the aforementioned detail caused many to question whether De Armas would be able to portray Monroe’s unique breathy accent.

Following the trailer’s release on Thursday morning, a legion of tweets have pointed out how the Blade Runner 2049 star seems to slip through her version of Monroe’s accent into more of what is used by De Armas naturally. However, numerous tweets have also defended the actress as Monroe herself had Mexican roots, which might have reflected in some of her movie roles.

Although the online chatter on Blonde debates Ana de Armas’ accent as Monroe, it must be noted that the trailer footage only had a few lines by the actress. Thus, it would be fair to say that her ‘Monroe’ voice did not get enough screentime for viewers to analyze whether de Armas is consistent with the accent in the film.

Finally, Marilyn Monroe is being portrayed as a Latina icon…
@FilmUpdates Her English accent is a bit rough. Kinda obvious, but hope it delivers
@alan_sneider66 @FilmUpdates It's better cos Marilyn Monroe was a Latino herself.
@FilmUpdates that accent is waaaaaaaaaaaay off
everyone seems fixated on ana de armas’ accent in BLONDE but i think that only makes the film more interesting; it emphasizes the inherent artifice in biopics (and in acting overall), which imo is appropriate in a work seemingly dedicated to exploring artifice versus reality
let me remind those commenting on ana de armas' accent playing marilyn monroe that we have a long history of american actors botching accents of other nationalities in film and you don't blink twice. you'll survive.
People complaining about Ana de Armas' Spanish accent in the BLONDE one reason why actors, whose native language isn't English can't make it in Hollywood. Audiences will call suspension of disbelief for men with superpowers wearing tights but draw the line at accents
I was wondering what they'd do about ana de armas' accent and it seems like theyre kind of just...leaving it?? idk I don't hate it??
Any Latino could’ve told you no amount of coaching or ADR was gonna make Ana de Armas lose that accent. My parents have been here 5x longer than they ever lived in Cuba and they still sound like Que Pasa USA.
@DiscussingFilm Hey, I’m never going to criticise a movie for featuring Ana de Armas, and she certainly looks the part, but could they not have got her an accent coach?
@netflix Correct me if I’m wrong. Did Marilyn Monroe have a thick Spanish accent?
@netflix Looks incredible but unfortunately her accent gets in the way. I know she worked really hard but it’s still very much there 😕
A lot of people don't realize that Marilyn Monroe is Latina! I think Ana de Armas will do a lovely job at playing her!

Previously, Ana de Armas had addressed how much she had to train to get Marilyn Monroe’s accent. In an interview with The Sunday Times’ Style magazine, she said:

“I tried! It only took me nine months of dialect coaching, and practicing, and some ADR sessions (re-recording dialogue after filming). It was a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried.”

What was Marilyn Monroe’s accent like?

Norma Jeane Mortenson aka Marilyn Monroe is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history. The actress, who was best known for movies like Niagara (1953), The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), Some Like It Hot (1959), and more, had a unique ‘breathy’ voice with a distinct accent.

According to Vogue, Monroe's voice accentuated the audible sound of her breathing. This was reportedly a style that was adopted by her upon the suggestion of a speech therapist to mitigate her childhood stutter.

Marilyn Monroe’s Mexican roots


According to numerous publications, historians have reportedly found that Monroe had Mexican roots through her maternal grandparents. While Monroe was born in Los Angeles, her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker (née Monroe), was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

As per Latin Heat Entertainment, Monroe’s maternal grandparents Otis Elmer Monroe and Della Mae Hogan migrated to the northern Mexican city from the Midwest in the 1890s. They worked as farmers at Piedras Negras and adopted the local culture. Monroe’s mother reportedly spoke both English and Spanish fluently.

According to Mitú, Marilyn herself was also able to speak Spanish fluently but was barred from doing so by Hollywood studios at the time. However, the actress later embraced her lineage more publicly.

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Edited by Mohini Banerjee
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