paranormal activity

It Really Sounds Like Ana de Armas Was Haunted by Marilyn Monroe

Ana de Armas and Marilyn Monroe Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Netflix and 20th Century Fox

Lady Gaga perfected the art of the press tour while promoting House of Gucci, and Ana de Armas was clearly taking notes for Blonde. In the run-up to de Armas’s Blonde, a fictionalized Marilyn Monroe biopic based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel of the same name, the actor has repeatedly expressed that she was, and possibly still is, in the presence of Monroe’s spirit. (Whether this alleged spirit is haunting her in a nice way or a mean way will be up to audiences of the Andrew Dominik film …) Over the course of multiple interviews and cover stories, she has regaled us with tales of hauntings and possessions and telekinesis done at the hands of Monroe, whom she plays in the movie, and it’s been quite interesting to hear and a distraction from *gestures at tweets about the film*. Can de Armas’s “we’re haunted” anecdotes guarantee to get people talking even more about the controversial film than they already are when it hits Netflix after its theatrical run on September 28? Possibly — some do like it spooky. Here’s every Blonde story de Armas told the press.

Marilyn Monroe’s ghost visited the Blonde set.

De Armas debuted her first tales of the hauntings at the film’s Venice Film Festival world premiere. She said Monroe graced the set with her presence and even grew close to the Blonde team. “I truly believe that she was very close to us. She was with us,” the actor told the press. “I think she was happy.” The haunting wasn’t just a physical one. Monroe even went so far as to invade de Armas’s brain space: “She was all I thought about, she was all I dreamt about, she was all I could talk about, she was with me and it was beautiful.” Happiness wasn’t the only emotion that the spirit expressed, though. From here on out, de Armas remained committed to the bit, and, if not a bit, committed to sharing these paranormal encounters.

The ghost also threw things off the wall when she got mad.

Considering the film’s content, it’s no wonder the alleged ghost would get angry. “She would also throw things off the wall sometimes and get mad if she didn’t like something,” she told reporters in Venice. “Maybe this sounds very mystical, but it is true. We all felt it.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, de Armas described Dominik’s vision of Monroe, a vision that runs counter to those angry on-set outbursts by Monroe’s spirit. “Andrew told me, ‘You’re not allowed to ever express anger — that is not in her survival kit. She cannot afford that. You have to find other ways to get out of the situation, other ways to survive,’” de Armas recalled. “How do you navigate a normal life, let alone being her and living in that world, without being able to express anger or have boundaries?” If we take Monroe’s rage-fueled on-set telekinesis at face value, that could indicate the late Some Like It Hot actor is more comfortable expressing herself in the afterlife.

The director said the set had séance energy.

Back at the Venice press conference, Dominik was on the same spooky wave as de Armas, bending over backward to corroborate the spiritual encounter. “It definitely took on elements of being like a séance,” Dominik said. Which tracks — the film was shot in the same apartment where Monroe, then known as Norma Jeane, lived with her mother, while the final sequence and death scene were filmed in the same house and room where the actor died.

De Armas felt Monroe in her body.

After being haunted by a spiritual manifestation, the next logical step is feeling that person inside you. The first moment de Armas saw herself in the Monroe costume, something shifted. “Everyone in the room started crying, I can tell you that,” she told Today. “It was very emotional. It felt like she was back.” In a Variety story, she elaborated on where exactly she felt her character, noting that Monroe’s famous persona and her Norma Jeane true self were separate entities. “I could see Norma quicker than I saw Marilyn,” de Armas said. “I could feel her in my body.”

In an ET Canada red-carpet interview, the No Time to Die star said she wants the audience to feel that spirit, too: “I hope people feel her. I hope people feel who she was and her true essence.” Will watching Blonde be like watching that VHS from The Ring? Should audiences expect a haunting after leaving the theater or closing their laptops (sans the whole seven-days threat)?

Okay, de Armas didn’t just feel Monroe. Dominik alluded to a full-on possession.

There was an ineffable quality about de Armas that made the whole shebang click into place, Dominik said of his lead. “Something shifted when we found her,” he explained, before describing the actor’s ability to channel her frustration into her character in the screen test. “It was just so obvious,” he told Variety, “she had this thing — and that’s the reason why the movie happened.” The “thing” could be possession, which he also hinted at in comments about the production. He never called “cut,” so Armas could surprise him, hoping that she would get lost in the moment. “She tried to surprise herself — always the best takes are the ones where the actor says, ‘I don’t know what the fuck I just did.’”

Monroe’s outsize presence inside de Armas oozed into her No Time to Die performance.

As Monroe took hold of the actor’s body and mind, the possession became harder to shake for de Armas. “I couldn’t say good-bye,” she told Variety. “I couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t let her go.” It got so bad that bits of Monroe leaked into her No Time to Die performance as Paloma. “If you think about Paloma now,” she said, “I am sure that there is some Marilyn in there. There is! Her energy and her charm and this thing where she was lit from the inside — Paloma stole a little bit of her.” So logically speaking, if we watch No Time to Die, we’d feel Monroe there too.

The actor also left a note at Monroe’s grave and visited it multiple times.

Everyone involved in the film took paying their respects very seriously. “We got this big card and everyone in the crew wrote a message to her,” de Armas told Another Mag, describing the Blonde team’s note to Monroe. “Then we went to the cemetery and put it on her grave. We were asking for permission in a way. Everyone felt a huge responsibility, and we were very aware of the side of the story we were going to tell — the story of Norma Jeane, the person behind this character, Marilyn Monroe. Who was she really?” It wasn’t the last time de Armas visited the site: “I went to visit her at her cemetery a few times — I would have liked to go one more time.”

It Really Sounds Like Ana de Armas Was Haunted by Marilyn