It turns out not only gentlemen prefer blondes—the Venice Film Festival does as well. At the Venice premiere of Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biographical drama Blonde, star Ana de Armas was tearful during the film’s 14-plus minute standing ovation, a festival record so far. Co-star Adrien Brody, who plays playwright Arthur Miller, also became misty, Variety reports.
Before Blonde came down the barrel, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson’s black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin held the festival’s applause record. The black comedy drama received 13 minutes of applause following its Tuesday premiere.
Blonde found itself in Venice with a lot to prove and more than a few hitches. Not a straightforward biopic exactly, the film takes its basis from Joyce Carol Oates’ novel of the same name, a dramatization of Monroe’s life. Blonde garnered Netflix’s first NC-17 rating (a decision Armas has publicly questioned), leading some fans to express concern about just how sensationalized and invasive this new telling of one of Hollywood’s most tragic tales may be.
There’s also been some public outcry around Armas’ casting in the lead—Armas grew up in Cuba and did not watch Monroe’s films growing up. One of Armas’ most stalwart defenders has been Brad Pitt, who has called her performance “phenomenal” and previously asserted Armas was the entire reason Blonde made it off the ground.
“It was 10 years in the making,” Pitt said. “It wasn’t until we found Ana that we could get it across the finish line.”
During Blonde’s Venice press junket, Armas asserted that although Monroe hadn’t been a part of her life for long, she felt exceedingly close to the Some Like It Hot star (and possibly, her eternal spirit) during filming.
“I truly believe that [Monroe] was very close to us, she was with us,” Armas says. “She was all I thought about, she was all I dreamed about, she was all I could talk about. She was with me and it was beautiful. I think she was happy… Being in the same places that she was, filming in her house, it was a very strong sensation there was something in the air and I think she was approving of what we were doing.”
Blonde debuts on September 28 on Netflix.