Interview: Director Simon Curtis talks My Week with Marilyn

My Week with Marilyn is certainly a incredible story with a star-studded cast, so it’s little wonder that the film is already being heavily tipped for Oscar nominations. We interviewed My Week with Marilyn‘s director, Simon Curtis, to find out about the making of the film.

After pursuing the rights to Colin Clark’s two books (The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn) for several years, it’s good to hear Curtis is pleased with the results, “I don’t think I could be happier actually.”

Naturally, there will be more than a few people who are keen to find out how much truth there is in this fascinating tale. While only Clark, and perhaps Monroe, could say how accurate Clark’s books are, Curtis is keen to confirm that My Week with Marilyn certainly sticks closely to Clark’s account.

“I thought that was sort of the point, in a way. There are so many different versions of what you could do here: you could have the Olivier version or the Arthur Miller version… What we were doing was telling Colin Clark’s version of Marilyn at a particular moment in her life, which was in England in 1956. Also, we weren’t just doing the well-known clichĂ© of Marilyn, we were trying to investigate her in a deeper, more serious way.”

The film certainly portrays the screen legend in a way that many audiences will not have seen before. The question of who would take on the responsibility of playing Monroe herself was one which hung over My Week with Marilyn from the early stages of production. Despite much public speculation that actress Scarlett Johansson was the frontrunner for the part – something which Curtis dismisses as “a lot of internet chatter” – it was Michelle Williams who was eventually cast in the much coveted role.

“As soon as Michelle read it and I met her, I was just desperate for her to do it, and I had total confidence in her from that moment on…I just loved her.”

Indeed, Williams gives what is perhaps her most impressive performance to date, capturing the something of the essence of Monroe not purely in her appearance, but her character as a whole. Yet Curtis reveals that he wasn’t aware of the full extent of her talents until after she had been cast.

“To tell the truth, I just knew she was a phenomenal actress, I didn’t know she was also a phenomenal singer and dancer as well, that came later.”

Despite revealing that he has, in the past, experienced issues similar to those Olivier put up with working with Monroe, Curtis is keen assure me that it was not the case in working on this film. Watching My Week with Marilyn, it’s not hard to imagine that the seemingly effortless on-screen dynamics between the cast are grounded in a solid working relationship behind the cameras. While The Prince and The Showgirl may not have been quite the artistic collaboration that both Monroe and Olivier were hoping for, My Week with Marilyn is far more likely to have positive repercussions for all those in involved.

Read more of our interview with Simon Curtis here.

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