That was a judgment based on the strength of Williams' past performances — and, of course, Oscar voters' penchant for nominating actors playing larger-than-life historical figures.
On Thursday, a trailer for the film hit the Web, finally giving prognosticators something substantive with which to evaluate Williams' performance. The film, which will be released by the Weinstein Co. on Nov. 4, is based on two memoirs by Colin Clark, who was an assistant director on the Monroe-Laurence Olivier 1956 collaboration "The Prince and the Showgirl." "Marilyn" centers on the emotional and physical troubles Monroe was grappling with during the production, when she allegedly had an extramarital dalliance with Clark. The film seems to present Monroe as a fragile, insecure woman hoping to fill the void in her life with drugs and the constant attention of men.
The trailer also suggests a movie with atmospheric period detail and convincingly shows Monroe's numerous dimensions, while also making larger — and timely — points about the nature of celebrity obsession. But those eager to size up Williams' Monroe turn may be disappointed. While we see the actress dolled up in full Monroe garb — big blond curls, figure-hugging dresses and bright lipstick — we don't hear much of the actress emulating the icon's famously breathy voice.
Williams has earned two Oscar nominations before for her work in 2005's "Brokeback Mountain" and last year's "Blue Valentine." Could "My Week With Marilyn" mark her third nod? Critics will have their say in a few days: The drama is premiering at the New York Film Festival on Sunday.
— Amy Kaufman
Photo: Michelle Williams stars in "My Week With Marilyn." Credit: The Weinstein Co.