November 23rd, 2011
02:57 PM ET
Michelle Williams may have initially tried to talk herself out of playing Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn," but producer Harvey Weinstein had no doubts.
"You need an actress who is fearless, and has unbelievable work habits and work ethic," Weinstein says, and Williams had the studiousness of a college student with a dancer's awareness of physical presence.
The 31-year-old embodies the Hollywood icon in the film based on the memoir by Brit documentary filmmaker Colin Clark, who recalls in the text the fleeting time he spent with Monroe when she was making "The Prince and the Showgirl" in 1956. Critics have praised Williams' portrayal, and she's being eyed as a contender for a best actress Oscar nod.
Weinstein, of course - who says viewers may find some interesting similarities between his Academy Award-winning film "The King's Speech" and "My Week with Marilyn" - is certainly no stranger to the awards race.
"I never say I’m making this movie for an Oscar. To me, the Academy is the classiest Good Housekeeping seal of approval that you can get," he says. A movie like "The King's Speech" may not be commercial on paper, but "if you’re lucky enough to get academy recognition, it gives the audience permission to see the film."
Yet when they get there, there still needs to be a story. Although the entertainment industry has changed, with the boundaries between music, film and TV collapsing, there's still one staple, the famed producer says: "It’s gotta be on the page. The kind of movie that I want to make, it’s gotta be on the script."
This is also the reason why he can consider something like a follow-up to 1998's "Rounders" at a time when Hollywood is deluged with never-ending franchises.
"I’m entertaining the idea of doing a 'Rounders' sequel because there’s a side of the story that we haven’t told. I want to do it because there’s something that we didn’t say."
Weinstein says he has met with Matt Damon and writers David Levien and Brian Koppelman to hear out the story and create a road map for the script.
"I feel Matt [Damon's] passion, I feel like he’s one of those great citizens of our industry...and he’s also one of our great actors. And I know Edward [Norton] wants to do it too...and I think the two of them know that they have this magic."
Speaking of magic: Weinstein is promising that Quentin Tarantino's upcoming "Django Unchained" will be just as much of a thrill ride as 2010's acclaimed "Inglourious Basterds."
The movie, starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, centers on freed slave Django who seeks to free his enslaved wife Broomhilda from a sadistic slave master with the aid of a bounty hunter. (Sacha Baron Cohen is also officially a part of the cast, Weinstein says, although he declined to elaborate on his role.)
"This [movie] is revenge. This is righting all the wrongs of prejudice and racial bias, and doing it in a way that young kids are going to go see this movie and they’re going to get it, they’re going to be wildly entertained and they’re going to walk out of there just like with ‘Inglourious Basterds’ and never think the same way again."
"No one's ever going to feel bad for the Ku Klux Klan," Weinstein said, but if you thought the Nazis in Tarantino's last movie had it rough, "wait till you see what happens to them...This is the greatest kick ass spaghetti western of all time."
"My Week With Marilyn" opens in select theaters today.
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