Ana de Armas isn’t the first actress to portray Marilyn Monroe in film, television, and various other forms of media. However, Ana, 34, may be the most radical of all performances since the Knives Out star (and Ben Affleck’s ex) will bear her heart, her soul (and likely, her body) in Blonde, Netflix’s NC-17-rated drama, per Variety. “[The film] boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe,” the film’s synopsis reads. “From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.”
The film is based on Joyce Carol Oates’ bestselling novel of the same name. Director Andrew Dominick’s “ambitions were very clear from the start — to present a version of Marilyn Monroe’s life through her lens,” de Armas recently told Netflix Queue. “He wanted the world to experience what it actually felt like to not only be Marilyn, but also Norma Jeane. I found that to be the most daring, unapologetic, and feminist take on her story that I had ever seen.”
As the world prepares for this Blonde bombshell to drop (out on Sept. 23), here’s what you need to know.
Ana and Ben Affleck Had A Serious Romance
The pair met in 2019 while filming the thriller Deep Water. They sparked romance rumors when the 48-year-old and Ana were seen shopping and going to cafes together in Havana, Cuba, on Mar. 6, 2020, being super flirty. They then jetted to Costa Rica for a romantic beach vacation. The couple made it back to Los Angeles as it went into home lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic in late March. Ben and Ana hunkered down and quarantined together. The couple could be seen passionately making out during their daily walks to get out of the house.
Eventually, the relationship became serious enough that Ana became close with Ben’s three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner: Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 8. The pair made it through the crazy year that was 2020, only to break up in Jan. 2021. But Ana remained beloved by Ben’s family. After the split, Ben’s brother Casey Affleck said, “I think that Ana is just the sweetest, funniest, smartest, most charming person. I think she won’t have any problems meeting somebody else,” and added, “I think she’s a catch in every way.
Ana Was Raised In Havana, Cuba
The world was first introduced to Ana when she was announced as part of the cast for No Time To Die. The James Bond film’s producers rolled out the cast list on Apr. 25, 2019, and Ana was among the fresh faces joining the Bondverse.
Initially dubbed Bond 25 before the film’s official title was revealed, the film sees a retired James Bond “enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica” after leaving Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The Caribbean setting was perfect for Ana, who hailed from neighboring Cuba. She was born in Santa Cruz del Norte, according to the Evening Standard, and raised in Havana. She attended Cuba’s National Theatre School as a team, planting the seeds that would grow into her successful acting career.
Ana Has Spanish Citizenship
Thanks to her mother, who is of Spanish descent, Ana was able to claim Spanish citizenship. After her debut in 2006’s Una rosa de Francia, an 18-year-old Ana moved to Spain. While overseas, she continued to develop her career. She found success in the Spanish TV series El Internado, a thriller set in a fictional boarding school.
Ana’s Breakout Was The ‘Blade Runner’ Sequel
It was Blade Runner 2049 that put Ana on the map in Hollywood. After relocating to Los Angeles in 2014, she appeared in Knock Knock (2015), Hands Of Stone (2016), and War Dogs (2016.) However, it was her turn as the character Joi in the sequel to the sci-fi classic that earned Ana critical acclaim.
“Denis [Villeneuve, the director of Blade Runner 2049] created such a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment for all of us that I never thought about it in that way. And Ryan [Gosling], our lead actor, made it exactly the same,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “They are great stars onscreen, but on human levels, they are just as wonderful, and I always felt very respected and valued.”
After that, she had a star-making role as Marta Cabrera in 2019’s Knives Out. She was at the center of the Rian Johnson-directed hit, which raked in over $300 million on a $40 million budget.
Ana Is Active On Social Media
As of June 2022, Ana has 6.8 million Instagram followers. “Social media is great because you control your own platform. You have the power to show who you are and what you believe in out there – whoever follows you gets it straight from the source, without any filters, and I like that it’s up to each individual to decide,” she said to Harper’s.
“However,” she added, “I grew up in Cuba and had a lifetime with no social media or Internet – the only thing I grew up with was human contact and interactions, so I do think social media can become dangerous when it takes over your life.”