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My Week With Marilyn

The Story
Early in the summer of 1956, American film star Marilyn Monroe set foot on British soil for the first time. On honeymoon with her husband, the celebrated playwright Arthur Miller, Monroe came to England to shoot THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL - the film that famously united her with Sir Laurence Olivier, the British theatre and film legend who directed and co-starred in the film.
That same summer, 23-year-old Colin Clark set foot on a film set for the first time in his life. Newly graduated from Oxford, Clark aspired to be a filmmaker and found a job as a lowly production hand on the set of THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. Forty years later, he recounted his experiences of the six-month shoot in a diary-style memoir entitled
The Prince, the Showgirl and Me.
But one week in Clark's account was missing.
It wasn't until years later that Clark revealed why. In a follow-up memoir entitled
My Week with Marilyn, he recounted the true story of one magical week he spent alone with the world‟s biggest star… the week he spent with Marilyn.
By turns comic and poignant, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN offers an uncommonly intimate look at the Hollywood icon, charting the brief, charged connection she forged with a young man who came to understand her better than anyone.

Adrian Hodges worked in journalism and film development before turning to screenwriting full time in 1990. His feature films include THE BRIDGE (Film 4),TOM AND VIV (Co-Scr) and METROLAND.Amongst his numerous television projects is CHARLES II - THE POWER AND THE PASSION, which won the BAFTA award for best serial drama in 2003. He also co-created and writes the hit ITV dinosaur drama Primeval, and created and wrote Survivors for the BBC. His mini-series AMONGST WOMEN was nominated in the BAFTA best serial category, and won the Grand Prix at the BANFF Television festival for best drama. It also won Best Television Drama at the Irish Film and Television Awards. His adaptation of DAVID COPPERFIELD, starring Daniel Radcliffe, won a Peabody Award. His other television projects include "Kavanagh QC" (Granada Television, starring John Thaw), LORNA DOONE (BBC)

The Director
Simon Curtis began his career at the Royal Court Theatre, London where he was assistant director to Danny Boyle and Max Stafford Clark. His productions there included the world premiere of Jim Cartwright's Road (which transferred to Lincoln Centre, New York) Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind. Other notable productions include Roots by Arnold Wesker and Brian Friel's Making History at the Royal National Theatre; Dinner with Friends at the Hampstead Theatre; The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago and on Broadway; and Otherwise Engaged by Simon Gray at the Criterion Theatre in the West End. In 2010 he directed Serenading Louie by Lanford Wilson at the Donmar Warehouse.
Curtis has been extensively linked to BBC Television and Films, and as a producer/executive producer his more than fifty credits include Judi Dench in ABSOLUTE HELL; Alec Guinness and Jeremy Irons in TALES FROM HOLLYWOOD; Kenneth Branagh in SHADOW OF A GUNMAN; Stephen Poliakoff's Prix Italia winning SHOOTING THE PAST; Mike Nichols in THE DESIGNATED MOURNER; Vanessa Redgrave in MRS. DALLOWAY; Maggie Smith, Natasha Richardson and Rob Lowe in SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER; David Hare's VIA DOLOROSA directed by Stephen Daldry; and Sondheim's COMPANY directed by Sam Mendes.
Directing for film and television include the first season of Tracey Takes On… (HBO) with Tracey Ullman and Hugh Laurie; John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson in Pinter's OLD TIMES; Hugh Grant in THE CHANGELING; Anne Bancroft in THE MOTHER; Lee Hall's THE STUDENT PRINCE; THE SINS with Pete Postlethwaite; Rachel Weisz in MY SUMMER WITH DES; and DAVID COPPERFIELD adapted by Adrian Hodges with Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen, Bob Hoskins, Imelda Staunton and introducing Daniel Radcliffe, which won the Peabody Award 2001. His film of TWENTY THOUSAND STREETS UNDER THE SKY with Sally Hawkins was nominated for four best drama awards, including Banff Festival 2006 and screened at the Telluride Film Festival 2006. He directed THE AMAZING MRS PRITCHARD for BBC ONE with Jane Horrocks and Carey Mulligan, and was Executive Producer and director of Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated FIVE DAYS with Hugh Bonneville and Janet McTeer for the BBC and HBO.
In 2007 he directed Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton in the BAFTA and EMMY winning CRANFORD, for which he received a BAFTA nomination, and Freezing with Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth McGovern.
In 2008 he directed A SHORT STAY IN SWITZERLAND by Frank McGuinness, which won Best Actress Monte Carlo Festival 2009 for Julie Walters and won Broadcast Best Film 2010 and was nominated for a BAFTA. Last year he directed the BAFTA and Emmy-winning CRANFORD 2 with a cast including Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry, Jodie Whittaker and Tom Hiddleston.

Point of View
A scrupulous and sincere scrutiny of first love, and how its significance can change lives and last a lifetime. Fans who are familiar with the films that turned Marilyn Monroe into an iconic legend, and her tragic life story, will applaud this wonderful opportunity of sharing some tender and intimate moments with her.
Michelle Williams comfortably slips under Monroe's skin and into the emotional mindscape of the wounded woman behind the glittering façade. Williams skillfully combines her mild and meek performance in Brokeback Mountain, and vulnerable innocence of Blue Valentine to deliver a powerful and touching performance as Monroe. Tony Award winner Eddie Redmayne is equally sensational as the Colin Clark , a young and idealistic devotee who spent a week with Monroe during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl.  The chemistry between Williams and Redmayne is magnificent, perfectly capturing the allure of admiration and the reverence for sincerity; there is a fragile innocence in their relationship that transcends the traditional views of celebrity status and offers an exceptional understanding of a friendship built on honesty.  Redmayne does indeed become the Prince on a White Horse that recues Monroe and saved her from self-destruction.  Equally brilliant are Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier, adding a wonderful edge to the characters, with Judi Dence delivering a radiant performance as the witty and prudent Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Zoe Wannamaker bringing Monroe's coach and Method advocate Paula Strasberg to glorious life. 
Director Simon Curtis exquisitely captures the spirit of a goddess who changed the world Monroe desperately tried to escape from, and gives us an intimate glimpse into the madness of stardom that spiralled into chaos and became malicious.  Curtis' meticulous detail and vivid visual flair captures the tension, drama and spectacle of making a film with the world's biggest stars, and the crazy and wild foolishness that accompanies the process of turning dreams into reality.
Adrian Hodges' screenplay, based on Colin Clark‟s diaries,
The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn is a finely crafted narrative that aptly captures the world behind the camera and the pressure of making a film. His well defined characters reflect the humour, explosive drama, and emotional distress forced upon them and how this potent mixture of emotions offer spectacular fireworks.
An interesting aspect that this meticulously crafted masterwork highlights, is the warzone created between method acting and instinctive performance; the technical perfection of controlled art becomes cold and callous, whereas the authenticity of real acting ignites an illuminating and thrilling magic.  My Week with Marilyn is by no means a sensationalistic or exploitative portrait of stardom, but a sincere homage to an icon whose brilliant light will shine forever.
The lasting impact this striking film leaves us with  is the realisation that being heartbroken does not necessarily mean loss, but serves as a gentle reminder of how great love will always be true love.  It's the ideal film for anyone who has ever been an explorer and discovered themselves through the eyes of strangers and re-discovered people through new encounters; discovering first love and renewed their love vows through compassion, as well as discovering that the reality of coming of age is a fantasy that can sometimes be more real than anything ever dreamed of.
Make sure to see My Week with Marilyn, it's a captivating and emotional experience that will last much longer than seven days.
Reviewed by Daniel Dercksen.  Rating 5/5

Playing Monroe
There was only one actress who Curtis considered for the iconic role of Marilyn, and that was Michelle Williams. Read more

Playing Colin Clark
To bring Colin Clark to the screen, Curtis pursued the highly regarded young actor Eddie Redmayne. Read more

The Cast
In truth, Laurence Olivier had high hopes for his project with Marilyn Monroe: To bring the great actor to life on screen, the filmmakers turned to Kenneth Branagh. Read more

Bringing Monroe to life
"For a lot of people Marilyn is more of an iconic image than an actress," admits director Simon Curtis. "People haven‟t seen her films as much as they have her portrait. My way into this project was falling in love with the first of Colin Clark;s two memoirs. As somebody who was assistant director at The Royal Court Theatre, I found it fascinating to uncover this moment in time."
The first memoir,
The Prince, The Showgirl and Me, recounts Clark's experiences working as third assistant director on the set of THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, Marilyn Monroe‟s first film as both producer and star in which she played opposite Sir Laurence Olivier, who also directed. The book recounts the production's myriad problems, fuelled almost exclusively by the lack of communication and understanding between the two stars: Monroe's erratic behavior and tardiness were exacerbated by her addiction to alcohol and prescription medication; while Olivier, a staunch traditionalist, refused to accommodate Monroe's idiosyncrasies or her devotion to Method acting, which she practiced under the guidance of Paula Strasberg.
While Clark's memoir is a dishy, fly-on-the-wall account of Olivier's and Monroe's fraught partnership, his follow-up memoir,
My Week With Marilyn, feels like an intimate confession. In it, Clark affectionately remembers one enchanted week he spent leading the troubled Monroe on a tour of the English countryside. It offers an all-too-rare glimpse of the real woman beneath the carefully cultivated image, unencumbered by the busy machinery of stardom.
"I couldn't believe my eyes when
My Week with Marilyn was published," avows Curtis. "Colin really did have this tense, erotically charged week with the most famous woman in the world, at the peak of her fame. I couldn‟t believe my luck when I was able to get hold of the rights. People had tried over the years. And in the last year I've met at least three very established directors who have said, 'I've always wanted to make that story' So I feel very lucky."
Curtis teamed with noted producers David Parfitt and Harvey Weinstein to realize the project, which masterfully offsets the drama with its musical roots and comedic moments. Parfitt and Weinstein, who had already worked together on three of the most well-respected period films of the past fifteen years: WINGS OF THE DOVE
, GANGS OF NEW YORK, and the Academy Award Best Picture winner SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, immediately reacted to the potential of Clark's memoirs as the basis for a feature film. "We thought that the first book, while it gave a really interesting insight into how THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL was made, might appeal more to people in the film industry," explains Parfitt. "The second book, however, is the real peek behind the curtain into who Marilyn really was. Importantly, this is not a Marilyn biopic; it's about a window into her life, working on a particular film, and the relationship she forged with Colin Clark at a crucial moment in her life."
With the book rights secured, the team approached screenwriter Adrian Hodges, with whom Curtis had worked on a BBC adaptation of DAVID COPPERFIELD
, to try his hand at an adaptation. Hodges, however, expressed doubts about taking on Monroe as a subject. "Like everyone else I was mesmerized by SOME LIKE IT HOT the first time I saw it. I had never seen anything so sexy," says the screenwriter. "But stories about Marilyn feel like an overworked field. Over the years she's just become this thing, this poster, a set image which has been produced again and again and again, both in her own image and in people like Madonna's and Lady Gaga's."
But after reading Clark's two memoirs, Hodges changed his mind. "I thought they gave a wonderful insight to the very real side of Marilyn, the Marilyn who was everything that everybody thought she was - scared, insecure, frantic, sometimes impossible - but at the same time vulnerable, sweet, endearing, just a young girl, really. So I thought this screenplay could make her human again."
Much of the intrigue of Clark's connection to Monroe lies in just how unlikely their relationship was. How did a world-famous star at the height of her fame end up spending an intimate week travelling across England with a gopher from her film set? Clark had only recently graduated from Oxford, and while he would eventually become an accomplished filmmaker in his own right, he had yet to cut his teeth when THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL went into production early in 1956. As a Third AD, his job was to be both visible and invisible. "Third AD's are everywhere and everyone knows who they are, because they have access to every aspect of the film, and yet at the same time they are possibly amongst the least important people there," says Hodges.
When Clark arrived on set for his first day of work, he stumbled into a tense atmosphere created by the accomplished celebrities in his orbit. "This was a very critical time in all their lives," says Curtis. "Marilyn had just married Arthur Miller and when she arrived at London airport to make this film, it was the proudest moment of her life. She was now married to the great intellectual who she thought was going to be her man for the rest of her life. Also, this was her first film as a producer, the first project under Marilyn Monroe Productions, and she was coming to England to work with the great Olivier in an effort to disprove doubts about her acting ability. In some ways the story of our film is how that all went so wrong."
At the same time, Olivier was trying to reignite his career as a movie star in a volatile cultural landscape that only seemed to herald his obsolescence. Curtis notes, "1956 itself was an extraordinary year in England, with rock 'n' roll, the year of ITV, the year of Look Back In Anger, the year of
Lucky Jim." "Look Back In Anger"‟s squalid settings and anti-establishment vitriol shocked reviewers and tore a hole through the bourgeois niceties of 1950s British theatre, while the satiric novel Lucky Jim skewered just the sort of stiff academic pretensions with which Olivier made his name. Adds Curtis,"Culturally, so much was in turmoil at the time. Having Marilyn arrive with Paula Strasberg and the Method was yet another challenge to Olivier's identity."
Monroe's clashes with Olivier, her anxiety about her marriage to Arthur Miller and her own insecurities about her talent made her deeply vulnerable. "She wanted a friend," explains Hodges. "And basically through a series of incidents, she became very close and intimate in a platonic way with Colin Clark, because he was always there and was non-threatening, although he was a charming and handsome man."
Monroe yearned to escape the troubled production, and when she learned that Clark came from a well-connected, privileged background - he was the brother of the famous diarist Alan Clark and the younger son of Kenneth Clark, the noted author and art historian - she realized he could provide access to places beyond her reach, such as Windsor Castle and Eton College. Adds Hodges, "It was a very innocent week and at the same time very charged with emotion and intimacy."
Indeed, Curtis identifies the film's story as following the same tradition as the popular, nuanced film, LOST IN TRANSLATION. "Two people accidentally come into each other's orbit and have this very charged connection, which then evaporates, and that appealed to me," says the director. "Also, the story chimes very much with our present fascination with celebrity. Now, with Twitter, you get very much into the details of how stars live, but back then things were much more controlled, so I liked how Colin gives us this inside track."
A veteran of the stage and the small screen, Curtis has waited a long time to make his directorial feature debut. "There have been films I have nearly done but I'm really, really thrilled that my first film is what they call a passion project, not something I‟ve just stumbled into. It‟s something I've always dreamt of making so it's a great starting point."
"It's a testament to Simon's skills as a director that he was able to attract this level of talent for his debut film," adds Weinstein. "He possesses a real gift with actors and he was able to draw uniformly intelligent and beautiful performances from his cast."

Shooting Monroe
Much of MY WEEK WITH MARILYN was shot at Pinewood Studios, the same studio used by THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, as well as on location at Hatfield House, Windsor Castle, Eton College and on the banks of the Thames. The production also filmed scenes in Parkside House, the same house Marilyn stayed in while shooting THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. "That location in particular was wonderful," reports Curtis. "When we were doing the scene where Marilyn found Arthur Miller's notebook, which she read to her horror, to do it on the very stairs where Marilyn would have sat, it was just incredible."
Curtis explains that he wanted the film to be loyal to 1956, "yet also for it to have a modern feel." Integral to the film are sequences in which Olivier and company are shooting scenes from THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. "It.s like a film within a film," says producer David Parfitt. "For Simon, it was very important to concentrate on the colours and textures and the introduction of Technicolor in the 50s. We wanted to contrast the filming of the scenes from THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL with what happened outside the set.
"It.s been great fun," he continues, "because we had some people connected with the original film on our set, along with some of their sons and daughters. We had the continuity lady from the original film come in for a day, and to be filming in that studio, the same one that the film was made in, with Michelle being in the same dressing room, there was a wonderful sense of history about the whole thing."
When MY WEEK WITH MARILYN entered post-production, producer Harvey Weinstein approached his good friend and colleague, composer Alexandre Desplat, to score the film. Having collaborated with Weinstein on over ten films, including last year.s Academy Award Best Picture winner THE KING.S SPEECH, Desplat agreed to create a .Marilyn theme. for the film while working in conjunction with orchestrator and composer Conrad Pope, who composed the score.
Weinstein was so impressed by Desplat.s Marilyn theme he felt it could only be recorded by one of the finest pianists in the world. Fortunately, internationally renowned concert pianist Lang Lang was similarly moved by Desplat.s work and signed on to record the piece at Abbey Road Studios in London in September. "That moment listening to Lang Lang play Marilyn.s theme was one of the most memorable, magical moments of my career," says Curtis. "I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending to the incredible journey of this project."

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