Melbourne: Michelle Williams, who went through a transformation to play Marilyn Monroe in ‘My Week with Marilyn’, has said that “it felt like being reborn” while preparing for the role.
To play the screen icon, the 31-year-old spent six months immersing herself in all things Monroe. She read biographies, diaries, letters, poems and notes, pored over photographs, listened to recordings, watched movies and tracked down obscure clips on YouTube.
“I’d go to bed every night with a stack of books next to me,” a website has quoted her as saying.
“And I’d fall asleep to movies of her. It was like when you were a kid and you’d put a book under your pillow hoping you’d get it by osmosis,” she said.
Her turn from indie waif to Hollywood sex goddess involved working with a choreographer to perfect Monroe’s walk and gaining weight to approximate her curves.
“Unfortunately, it went right to my face. So, at some point, it became a question of, do I want my face to look like Marilyn’s, or my hips?” she said.
She, however, opted for the puffiness on the face and filled her hips with foam padding.
“It felt like being reborn, like breaking my body and remaking it in her image, learning how she walked and talked and held her head,” she said.
Williams’ co-stars were also in awe of her daily metamorphosis.
“I’d look over and there’s Michelle. Half-an-hour later, Marilyn has arrived but is a bit sleepy,” Kenneth Branagh, who plays Sir Laurence Olivier, said.
“Half an hour later and Marilyn is now very frisky. And, finally, just before we’re due to be called onset, Marilyn is fully there - the dress is on, the hair is in place, there’s a glint in the eye,” he added.