Casey Affleck heaped praise on Andrew Dominik’s forthcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde during a press conference for his latest film Dreamin’ Wild at the Venice Film Festival Wednesday.
“I’ve seen Blonde and it’s incredible,” Affleck told press corps. “I’ve seen a couple of versions of Blonde and it’s taken him [Dominik] a long time to get it out into the world. But that’s just how he is. He’s so slow with it. And it’s an amazing, beautiful film.”
Affleck began discussing the NC-17-rated flick after he was asked about his relationship with the film’s director Andrew Dominik whom he worked with on The Assassination of Jesse James, which also debuted in Venice.
Later during the presser, Affleck continued to discuss his work with Dominik on The Assassination of Jesse James when he was asked about his personal regrets and how they influenced his performance in the musical drama Dreamin’ Wild.
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“I’ve experienced my share of failure so far. Dashed hopes and collapsed dreams. These aren’t the worst of them, but I’ve been in a lot of movies that I thought would be great and they didn’t turn out to be great,” he said. “When we brought Jesse James here it had a nice warm reception but the rest of the world thought it was a total disaster. A failure of an expensive movie. And for a while, I thought to myself my greatest accomplishment is being in the Brad Pitt movie with the lowest box office.”
Affleck later added that he used some “more personal failures” throughout his performance in Dreamin’ Wild.
Dreamin’ Wild is written and directed by Bill Pohlad and tells the true story of the instrumental and vocal duo Donnie and Joe Emerson. The film begins as Dreamin’ Wild – the album Donnie self-recorded as a teenager in 1979, with Joe – is re-discovered decades later and meets critical acclaim. As a result, adult Donnie is forced to confront ghosts from the past and grapple with the emotional toll his dreams have taken on the family who supported him.
Pohlad, who is best known for his critically acclaimed second feature, Love & Mercy, about Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, said he wasn’t originally interested in Donnie and Joe Emerson’s story.
“It sounded a little too much like Searching for Sugar Man. I said no,” he said. “And then I listened to the music and read the article. But it was really about meeting the family. Meeting Donnie and the whole group and I was just enchanted by them and what kind of people they were. You never meet these people in movies, so I wanted to take that on.”
In the film, Affleck plays Donnie Emerson and he said it was initially hard to track down the musician before production started. “It’s harder than you might imagine getting hold of Donnie,” he said. “He didn’t want to be on set too much, which was maybe a courtesy to us because it might have been awkward. But also I think he had mixed feelings about the whole thing as one might.”
Affleck added that when he did finally find Donnie he and his girlfriend traveled to his home and spent time with him and his family.
“That definitely informed how I thought about him,” he said. “They were generous with their time, but Donnie said whatever you end up doing will be okay with me.”
The film also stars Zooey Deschanel, Walton Goggins, Chris Messina, Noah Jupe, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Beau Bridges.
Jim Burke (Green Book) of Innisfree Pictures produced the flick alongside River Road Entertainment’s Kim Roth (Mudbound), Pohlad, and SPG3’s Viviana Vezzani (Moonfall) and Karl Spoerri (The Old Man & the Gun). Affleck executive produced with Christa Workman (David Byrne’s American Utopia), Dan Clifton (Brightburn), and Steven Snyder.
SPG3 co-financed alongside River Road.
Blonde debuts on the Lido September 8.
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