Michelle Williams was terrified to play Marilyn Monroe
November 26th, 2010
09:30 AM ET

Michelle Williams was terrified to play Marilyn Monroe

Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Williams has taken on her share of challenging roles, but none terrified her as much as playing Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming film "My Week With Marilyn." In fact, the "Blue Valentine" star told the U.K.'s Daily Mail that she initially turned down the offer to play the blonde icon.

"Physically and vocally, everything about her is different from me," explained Williams, who eventually found herself unable to resist the opportunity to portray Monroe. "I’ve kind of gone to school and had teachers to help me understand Marilyn, so I could project an essence of her."

Set during the making of "The Prince and the Showgirl" in 1956, "My Week With Marilyn" chronicles Monroe's whirlwind week around London with set assistant Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne).

The biographical film also stars Dougray Scott as Monroe's husband Arthur Miller, Kenneth Branagh as her co-star Sir Laurence Olivier, Julia Ormond as Olivier's wife, Vivien Leigh, and "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson as a wardrobe girl.

Despite her reluctance to take on the role of Monroe, the 30-year-old former "Dawson's Creek" star now says that slipping into character has become second nature.

"I feel like we live together," she joked.

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Filed under: Celebrities • movies

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Betty

    Marilyn's weight averaged 132 lb.
    Good luck Michelle, tough role for you.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 1jimmyhoffa

    AAAAAAAAAAH I could tell you some stories about Norma Jean. Marilyn Monroe to you young folk.

    November 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rusty Poker

    Show her in bed with Frank Sinatra.../movie over

    November 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Beware_of_Dog

    I knew Marilyn and she is no Marilyn Monroe. She would be a better fit for a biographical film on Sarah Jessica Parker.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. marfan

    The fact that MW doesn't resemble MM doesn't mean she cannot pull of the role. It's called "acting". Her profession. She is paid well to project an image which I'm certain she can do well. I wouldn't want someone who resembles MM but has no acting experience to portray her.

    November 29, 2010 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Carroll

    Really? Wow... Marilyn Monroe had a curvy figure right? She wasn't a stick figure like this girl. And come on, please not another film about this woman who kiilled herself. I've see pictures of Marilyn and she dosen't look that special, just adverage compared to other women with a face and body. Not a stick figure....

    November 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chere

    Scarlett Johansson is a FARRRR better marilyn. I cant believe anyone would pick someone other than Scarlett she is the ultimate.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. quinn

    I don't understand the comment that states she has ugly teeth. Her teeth look as though they are very nice, in my opinion, and she has nice eyes and lips, what's to criticize?

    November 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nat

    If you want to see an uncanny Monroe impersonation, Google Jimmy James. Ya a guy but it's very, very good.

    November 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James Van Der Beek

    Michelle give it a rest your five minutes of fame is over. It was MY show that got your name and "talents" thrown out there for the world to see and inevitably shun. You'll always be remembered as Heath Ledger's ex. We all still blame you for his death.

    November 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kev

      Who is "we all"? Not I. Speak for yourself.

      November 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MB

      wow – your just a mean, hurtful person. no wonder our world is in such a sad place, when people like yourself can be so spiteful to some one you don't even know. easy to be brave behind a key board huh.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Jackson

      Well he certainly isn't trying to speak for you Kev. People with an IQ of only 85 or below can speak for a dumbshlt loser like you. As for you "MB" have you ever heard of a contraction? The word you were looking for was "you're" not "your." Also, what does bravery have to do with a truthful statement? Please explain how someone can be brave on the internet. I would love to hear that explanation from a two-bit illiterate. Not to mention the fact that I DO know her from Wilmington, NC while I was a DP. It must hurt being you.

      November 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Duh Dave

    I think Alec Baldwin could play the part!

    November 28, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. ConcernedCitizen

    Personally, I always preferred Bettie Page.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mickey Mud Turtle

    Will she be posing nekkid like Ashley Judd did?

    November 28, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Anne

    Oh boo-hoo Michelle...I feel so sorry for you being "terrified" to take on this role. How shallow can you get.

    November 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sockness Monster

    Marilyn had 50 pounds alone up top (chuckle)

    November 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Figgy

    People are sick!! Who cares anyway. !50 lbs? Ugly teeth? Shallowness has hit an all time low in this discussion!! Both Michelle and Marilyn have their own unique beauty.

    November 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Leggie-Boo

    Woman can weigh 150 pounds and still have a small waist,
    The scale may read 150..., but take in the fact that she had volumptious breasts and curvacious hips. This can and will add weight.

    jusy saying to The_Mick.

    November 27, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      "volumptious" - ha ha, that's the way one of my old girlfriends used to describe herself!

      November 28, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  18. cindy

    Can't they find a PRETTY actress to play her? I thought Poppy Montgomery did a pretty good job before.

    November 27, 2010 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      As long as we're talking about ozzie gals, how about Anna Torv?

      November 28, 2010 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  19. chele

    I can see the resemblance in the photo posted for this story. She looks really pretty in that photograph,so I don't think it's that much of a stretch in terms of resemblance between the two women.

    November 27, 2010 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  20. Dale

    Love you Michelle.... But pulling this off is going to be tough... I will believe it when I see it... It is going to take a lot of wigs, makeup.. coaching, vocal diction, and boobs, and sensuality training to master the icon. I am not sayin you can't pull it off, let's just say... I am rootin for ya!

    November 27, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  21. hellae

    her teeth are ugly

    November 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Jon

    Lord, what a pretty girl. Never heard of her though.

    November 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • sure

      Although she starred in Dawson's Creek and got a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Brokeback mountain, she's best known as Heath Ledger's fiance, and mother of his kid. One small movie she did, The Station Agent, is great. Star Peter Dinklage, a dwarf, was excellent, and the rest of the small cast all did great supporting roles.

      November 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • chele

      Yes, she really is pretty, isn't she?

      November 27, 2010 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Mickey Mud Turtle

      I have a feeling that she's never heard of you, either.

      November 28, 2010 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  23. sure

    The thought terrified me, but then I thought, what the heck, I'll dye my hair. That's close enough.

    November 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Risa

    I'm just a little disappointed they didn't find someone who was more physically like Monroe. During her times, her physique was far more admired than the rail thin starlettes we worship today. Marilyn was healthy and curvy looking (she was apx 150lbs at the height of her career). Today, she would have been ridiculed as fat and unattractive.

    November 26, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lady

      The young Monroe was far from fat, Risa. And she would be considered a beauty in any age. She projected something ... remarkable. And Williams just doesn't have it.

      November 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carrie

      Lady, I don't think she was calling Monroe fat, but stating that by media and society standards of today, she'd be called fat. And I agree 100%, Marilyn Monroe in any time period is simply gorgeous. She was always gracious to her fans, happy to sign autographs, looked beautiful in everything she wore be it evening gowns or jeans. I miss the era of movie stars, the newer generations are simply actors or actresses, there is no quality to them.

      November 27, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      I doubt very much that Marilyn was ever 150 lbs. She always had a thin waist.

      November 27, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Newsflash to Mick: If you're curvy (as Monroe was) you can still have a thin waist and weigh 150 lbs. It just depends on your build.

      November 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzie

      MM was 5'5" tall and weighed under 120 lbs. She was a tiny woman. Some people think she was bigger simply because clothing sizes in the 1950s were nothing like they are today. In today's sizes, she would have been a size 2 or 4 (a size 12 in the 1950s).

      November 28, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryanzzzz

      She was definitely no where near 150 pounds – more likely around 115. A lot of pro-fat people like to give the tired claim that Monroe would be considered hefty in this day and age which is ridiculous, claiming among other things that she was a size 8, etc. Less we forget that a size 8 was different that a size 8 today(!), plus she had the correct aesthetic proportions in regards to waist, hips, etc. Girls who were a lot leaner were prevalent then as they are now (look at the two Hepburns or in the pages of a vintage Vogue), it's just that our society and media today seem to obsess about it far more.

      November 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  25. wham

    She looks absolutely gorgeous in the above picture. Looks more like Kim Novak than Monroe but I'm sure she can do the job well.

    November 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • chele

      Yes, I can see Kim Novak in her, too–speaking of a beautiful woman, Kim Novak was a beauty of all beauties.

      November 27, 2010 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
    • KS

      You're right, wham, I never noticed before, but she does look a bit like Kim Novak. Nothing like Monroe, however. I wish H'wood would just stop trying.

      November 27, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  26. TesaX

    Have to admit that I hated her in DC.
    But she is so great in her movies.
    Glad to be a fan now.

    November 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • dullard360

      Because "DC" was such a showcase for acting talent. Sir Lawrence Olivier would have sucked in that piece of crap.

      November 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • nedsin

      MIchelle, with all due respect, give it up, you'll never nail Monroe no matter how good of an actress you are. No one has ever been able to pull it off, in fact it seems to ruin an actress to live up to the failure of attempting to be MONROE, there will never be another Marilyn.

      November 27, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven Webb, Marina Del Rey, CA

      It's like trying to play John, Paul, George or Ringo!

      November 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nuneya

      Man, I was hoping you were not talking about Destiny's Child, because I really couldn't see that Michelle Williams being Marilyn Monroe.

      November 29, 2010 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |

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