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michelle as marilyn


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Our Time, Alone, With Her, in the Dark....Theatre

Our time, alone, in the dark...theatre

"I've always felt those articles somehow reveal more about the writers than they do about me." Marilyn Monroe

I sincerely intend to be the exception to the perceptive Ms. Monroe's honest and true insight and, in so doing, I'll focus upon her upcoming too brief reincarnation owing to the utterly insightful Harvey Weinstein.

That powerhouse of a producer said it best recently in an interview in 'The Huffington Post':

"'My Week With Marilyn' is a snapshot: it's funny, it's charming, it's entertaining, it's a fairytale. It's a boy who works on the set of a movie, 23 years old. She's 30. And through an argument she has with her husband, the playwright Arthur Miller, this guy gets very close to her............It's kissing, skinny-dipping---everything you want a week with Marilyn to be. You laugh. That's the misconception that I would love to clear up for everyone."

Yet, Mr. Weinstein goes on to relate how Michelle Williams, the mother of the late Heath Ledger's daughter, is very much the essence of her filmic role model, and in ways ignored by the writers Ms. Monroe rightly saw as blind to the underlying intelligent, witty and sincere woman she was. So, while there is a superficial albeit strong physical resemblance to the divine looking Ms. Monroe, in ways that are revealing of the inner Marilyn, Ms. Williams truly delved deeply, reading everything she could find above (there was little below those scandal sheets) and beyond what the tabloids had written of her in her too short career and life.

In this writer's opinion, as one who will eternally be impressed by the depth and range of the Marilyn whom Ms. Williams portrays in 'My Week With Marilyn' and Heath Ledger with whom she had a child-bearing relationship, it is offered with all respect that, in some curious way, her different yet full knowledge of them may deepen that portrayal in light of the tragically similar cause of death for both.

Taking a lead from the likes, then, of Harvey Weinstein and the author of the memoir/diary of the late Colin Clark is both a good way to proceed, leaving the sturm and drang of Marilyn's travails to other times and places and, instead, plumbing the inspiration for both Michelle Williams' casting and Mr. Clark's tale. And what a tale: according to Clark's second of two memorializations of his close encounters with Monroe (the first recounting his less intimate dealings with her as third assistant director on 'The Prince & The Showgirl'), she sought him on more than one occasion during the week he details in diarist fashion (excerpts of which may be easily found online in some of the British press).

But, first and foremost, Michelle Williams, the surrogate Marilyn. Like Marilyn, also a woman of the west (Montana), she has allowed as how that she was wont to keep to herself as a child, unsure just why, but it worked well for her. While this may have little to do with her casting, it may say something about her empathy for her newest subject role. While her start was in TV, she quickly migrated to some provocative indie roles, most notably in 'Brokeback Mountain', playing her future real life romantic companion's wife to his homosexual character so convincingly that it earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. Which leads us, perhaps, back to Colin Clark, whose literal supporting role to Marilyn off the set of that Olivier picture where she was so mistreated by Sir Lawrence was of such apparent comfort to Monroe.

Among the revelations that he imparts to us in his film-inspiring second memoir is that Marilyn was pregnant by Arthur Miller at the time of their one week platonic (though tempting for both) relationship, one he claims was owing largely to Marilyn's craving for an anonymous companionship with someone she liked without ulterior motive, and vice versa. While awestruck (who wouldn't have been, hence, here angst), Clark knew he was out of his depth, yet she made him feel that he wasn't. As Mr. Weinstein said, '...the way you want a week with Marilyn to be...' But, according to Clark, she wanted it to be normal, casual, private, almost utterly child-like.

And, so, we Colin Clark wannabe's as well as the as yet unknown Marilyns among us may look forward to her revivification by the sophisticated looks and acting versatility of Michelle Williams who has known loss every bit as deeply and heart-rending as her sadly misunderstood character. According to the critical buzz (so expertly spread by Mr. Weinstein), Michelle Williams may earn another Oscar nomination playing a woman she must surely understand far better than any man in her life--including Colin Clark---may have, or any woman at large may even today.

Anxiously awaiting our collective two hours or so 'alone' with Marilyn, a.k.a. Michelle, the talented woman who lost her prince but is, like Marilyn, far more than a showgirl.

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Updated May 6, 2017 6:00 AM EDT | More details

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