I was fortunate to attend the LA premier of the new HBO documentary LOVE, MARILYN last night. I highly recommend everyone see it when it is released mid June.
Directed by Liz Garbus, the documentary is based on recently discovered letters and diaries of Marilyn and offers a more in depth and compelling insight into the person behind the persona. Never before have I felt that I had gotten such a honest and complete look at who the person behind Marilyn really was. The documentary doesn't try to glorify or victimize her like most other explorations of the persona seem to do, but somehow in this more accessible approach presents a very likable and respectable person. Marilyn was witty, smart and powerful, and not helpless at all like she is so often portrayed.
An actor friend of mine accompanied me and we talked after about the reality of being an actor and the highs and lows. For him the documentary was very moving and inspiring because as he says: "I know the demons Marilyn speaks of, they are as much part of me!" Myself as a former actress I can also relate so well to this and have to admit I am glad I got out from in front of the camera when I did. It is not an easy job, it takes your all!
This also brings me to Lee Strasberg and his family's part in Marilyn's life. In the documentary it shows how it was only after he started his work with her that she started to fall apart. Lee Strasberg's approach seemed to uncover the deep hurts of her childhood which she had been able to cover up until then and was too much for her. Does that put any blame on her demise? I'm not sure, maybe it was inevitable!
Most of the documentary is Marilyn's words spoken and acted by a wide variety of famous and very respected actors (Glenn Cose, Uma Thurman, among others), which provides a refreshing approach to presenting the material and helps bring her words alive. My one major critique was how I was to acutely aware that all the actors where performing in front of a green screen, even though I did enjoyed how this provide an opportunity to edit it in a very dynamic way.
Like I said earlier you don't want to miss this one!