Bringing icons back to life

Published: November 22, 2011

Actor Michelle Williams, as Marilyn Monroe, in a scene from director Simon Curtis’ new film My Week With Marilyn. PHOTOS: REUTERS

KARACHI: 

Film-makers have impressed us time and again by recreating the impervious personas and cerebral excellence of certain outstanding politicians, freedom fighters and public icons whom we only knew from our history books.  A chapter of the past unfolds itself every time you see an actor portraying the aura of a historical icon with remarkable exactitude.

The star who most recently joined the league of actors who have gotten a chance to impersonate icons is Michelle Williams. Usually sporting the girl-next-door image, Williams now aims to recreate the magic of popular showgirl Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. The trailer of the upcoming film shows Williams manifesting both the naughtiness and the deep-seated darkness of the iconic sex symbol of the 50s. From replicating Monroe’s candy pop, blonde bombshell look to highlighting her most famous trait of concealing her off-screen emotional destitution; the actor has, without doubt, brought back the golden girl of the 50s back to screens. “In her latest work, My Week with Marilyn, [Williams] perfectly captures the glamour and vulnerability of the iconic Marilyn Monroe,” says Palm Springs International Film Festival Board Chairman Harold Matzner.

The actor, whose portrayal of Monroe is already generating Oscar buzz, will be honoured on January 7 in Palm Springs, California — a town that was instrumental in Monroe’s career. Williams, 31, will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala, reports mydesert.com.

There are, of course, other actors who have embodied a historical figure perfectly:

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela

When the actor appears in  a plain white suit in Bruce Almighty and says, “I’m God,” in his authoritative yet benevolent tone, you almost believe it. A veteran of sorts and a power house in himself, Morgan Freeman reincarnated Nelson Mandela’s positive attitude and his persistence to emancipate the South African blacks in the film Invictus. Freeman manages to communicate the gravity of responsibility Mandela felt while serving 27 years in prison.  The film earned Freeman a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and a National Board of Review Award for Best Actor.

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II

The official poster of The Queen shows a gracefully ageing Helen Mirren, with a slight frown on her face but focused and stubborn eyes. The poster of this award-winning film instantly reminds one of the Queen of England who sits with regal disdain on a British pound note. Mirren portrayed the heaviness of the royal tag and the betrayal the queen faces within her family. An icon of finesse and class upfront and a warrior inside, Queen Elizabeth’s wise struggle in The Queen shows the grotesque side of royalty. Mirren won Best Actor (Female) at the Academy Award in 2006 for her unbelievable transformation into a queen.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.

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