A good way to let a woman know that she’s beautiful is to just be straight up and tell her. A more extravagant way to do it is to cast her as Marilyn Monroe in a biographical miniseries. You and I might not be able to do such a thing, but Lifetime can, and they’ve hired former Pan Am actress Kelli Garner to play Monroe for the miniseries Marilyn. I wonder if there’s been an upward surge in actors fighting over the John F. Kennedy role.
Based on the best-selling book The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli, Marilyn will see Garner getting dolled up to play one of the most famous women as she builds a career around herself. As her professional life gains ground, she is emotionally torn apart by the mental demons that plague her, thanks to her mentally ill mother, who will be played by Susan Sarandon. Their relationship is one full of love, hatred and empathy. Though Marilyn ascends to the top of that era’s pop culture, she also just wants to experience the life of a loving daughter and mother.
It hasn’t even been two full years since Lifetime debuted the abysmal Liz & Dick, and the network’s output in the meantime hasn’t exactly been outstanding. Sure, Flowers in the Attic and that Saved by the Bell movie were definitive 2014 TV highlights, but that doesn’t make them great. The presence of Sarandon and Garner, who was in features like The Aviator and Lars and the Real Girl, could mean good things for Marilyn, whose four-hour runtime will definitely allow for as much character development as possible.
Marilyn is written by Stephan Kronish, whose most recent small screen effort was the similar bio-miniseries The Kennedys. (Does that make this a spinoff?) Before that, he wrote for such crime-ridden series as 24, Wiseguy and The Commish, to name a few. Directing Marilyn will be Laurie Collyer, whose latest work was last year’s indie drama Sunlight Jr.; and before that, 2006’s Sherrybaby.
Kelli Garner can be seen this month in theaters for Alexandre Aja’s horror drama Horns with Daniel Radcliffe. She’s currently filming Zachary Shedd’s Americana and also stars in Robert Edwards’ drama When I Live My Life Over Again with Christopher Walken and Amber Heard.
Though Lifetime recently cancelled its sci-fi series The Lottery, the network will continue with business as usual. They’re turning their Christina Ricci-starring Lizzie Borden TV movie into a series, for one. And on the movie side, their upcoming slate includes biopics for Brittany Murphy, Whitney Houston and Aaliyah.
As Deadline puts it, Marilyn is set to hit Lifetime at some point in 2015, so tune in and don’t get caught over a street grating with dirty underwear on.