Director Of Ana De Armas’ NC-17 Movie Blonde Explains Surprise Over The Rating

Ana De Armas in Deep Water
(Image credit: Hulu)

The NC-17 rating rarely gets handed out by the Motion Pictures Association’s ratings board. But don’t view the “distinction” as a badge of honor. With an NC-17 comes all sorts of impediments to marketing that can actually hinder an audience from seeing the movie in question – even though there’s usually a curiosity from the viewers as to WHY a movie earned the NC-17. In the case of Ana De Armas’ upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde, however, it’s the film’s director that’s confused and surprised as to why his movie received an NC-17 rating, and in a recent interview, he confessed that he believes the decision is a mistake.

Andrew Dominik has a sturdy reputation on film Twitter thanks to his work directing the underrated masterpieces The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly, both with Brad Pitt. The filmmaker has been making the rounds talking about the deeper meanings behind the movie Blonde, which he wrote back in 2008 and has been fighting to the bring to the screen since. But while speaking to The Playlist, Dominik went into the reasons why he was surprised over the granting of the NC-17 rating, saying: 

Yeah, that was a bit of a surprise, that it got that rating. It was really #MeToo that allowed Blonde to happen. It was a gold moment where you had to believe a woman's perspective no matter what. Whereas before, I think people were really uncomfortable with how Blonde portrayed certain American sacred cows. And then it became a gold moment where it didn't matter if they were sacred cows or not. And that's why it got made, what allowed it to happen in the end.

We don’t know yet which Hollywood “sacred cows” Andrew Dominik is going after in Blonde, but he makes it out to be that without the attention brought by the #MeToo movement to abuse happening in the studio system, a movie like Blonde probably wouldn’t have been greenlit. He goes on to explain that his movie will be told from the POV of Marilyn Monroe (Ana De Armas), who he describes as “an unwanted child who becomes the most desired woman on the planet.” 

It’s easy to see where the drama, pain and sadness can come from when taking that position. But for reasons we don’t quite know yet, Blonde was slapped with the NC-17, and all the MPA said was for “some sexual content.” Andrew Dominik believes this rating can be detrimental for a movie like Blonde. He says:

NC-17 is not a good thing for your film to have, you can't be on certain billboards and you can't advertise on certain things and there are all kinds of restrictions that get put on you cause of that rating. So, to get an NC-17 is not good, you know, and it's not something that I wanted the film to have. Also, I don't think it's something that the film deserves, it's not really reflective of community standards, I think it's more of a political thing.

Even though Blonde will be going to Netflix, which is not fully beholden to the limitations of a ratings system, Dominik says Blonde will try to play in movie theaters, likely so it can qualify for Oscars consideration. In the past, movies that have been slapped with an NC-17 rating have made cuts to get back down to an R, and when Joker removed a vicious bathtub scene from the final cut, or Seth Rogen’s lewd Sausage Party scrubbed some food-based genitals after the MPA had issues with an orgy scene. Really, it can be pretty ridiculous when you hear the reasoning behind the MPA’s decisions on ratings. 

Andrew Dominik does promise that Ana De Armas’ Blonde will have more than enough content to offend everyone when it comes out later this year. But until he has locked his final cut of the movie, we’ll just have to keep guessing, and patiently await the film’s release.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.