Sunday, November 20, 2011

Michelle Williams Channels Marilyn Monroe


Her eyes were searching the grounds of the Beverly Hills Hotel, peeking over the bougainvillea at a row of terra cotta-roofed buildings.

"I always wonder which bungalow was hers," said Michelle Williams, staring into the distance at a lodging that could have been home to Marilyn Monroe. The icon, whom Williams plays in the film "My Week With Marilyn," lived at the hotel in the late 1950s while in production on the movie "Let's Make Love."

"Is it too pretentious to say I feel I have a relationship with her?" the actress said suddenly, as if she could feel the blond's spirit. "The more time I spend with her, the closer I feel to her."

On the surface, Williams, 31, doesn't seem to share much in common with the tragic star. Monroe was all curves and soft flesh; Williams is pixie-like – on a recent fall night, she was covered up in black slacks and a sweater with a Peter Pan collar. Monroe affected a ditsy persona that many critics abhorred, and she was never nominated for an Academy Award; Williams, a two-time Oscar nominee, quotes the likes of Gustave Flaubert and Walt Whitman. The late actress was beholden to the studio system; Williams often opts for determinedly noncommercial, independent films such as the minimal "Meek's Cutoff" or the emotionally raw "Blue Valentine."

Still, on the set of "My Week With Marilyn" – which opens in Los Angeles on Wednesday – Williams felt an inexplicable connection to Monroe. During the shoot, she found meaning in seemingly ridiculous things – like an article in the National Enquirer.
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