In 1952, a 10-year old boy falls in love with a picture of Marilyn Monroe on the cover of a magazine. 47 years later he marries her.
Interview with Director Tammy Plimmer and Writer/Producer Greg Thompson
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Tammy Plimmer, Director: I first became aware of Marilyn Forever Blonde through my fiancé (now husband) Joel Plimmer. He'd worked with Sunny producing one of her albums and had, over the past two decades, done numerous projects for Lipstick Productions. I was immediately fascinated by the idea that any woman would have the courage, not to mention the talent, to play Marilyn Monroe and had done so successfully for eight years throughout the world. I couldn't wait to see the play and meet the actress...and once I did I was hooked. This was a story I wanted to tell! I wanted to share Sunny's story of playing this iconic figure BUT what I wasn't expecting was the charming love story behind the Marilyn Forever Blonde project. Actually, there are two love stories....but you'll have to watch the movie to learn more about that.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Tammy: First, I believe that there's an unprecedented fascination with Marilyn Monroe. She's a bigger-than-life personality that has continued to garner a loyal fan base years after her death. As an audience member I'd be interested in how the play could have possibly been entirely in Marilyn's own words and secondly, I'd want to know if there was anything new I could learn about Marilyn as seen through the eyes of Sunny Thompson.
Greg Thompson, Writer/Producer: People who actually knew Marilyn Monroe always comment on Sunny's performance saying she is the only one who has been able to capture Marilyn's softness and kindness. The audience should look for those subtle qualities in the film.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Tammy: I think that one of the ideas we look at in this story is the continuing impact of an icon, from the influence of an image on a ten year old boy to the protectiveness and ownership of the fans to the commitment to doing justice for the beloved actress.
The movie explores love on many levels: Love as seen through Marilyn's eyes, love of Marilyn as experienced by the director of Marilyn Forever Blonde, Sunny's love for Marilyn, and the audiences' committed and loyal love of Marilyn. All of this is set within the love story of the writer/creator of Marilyn Forever Blonde and his leading actress.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Tammy: As the interview process unfolded it became evident that there was another important element to this story in addition to our leading actress. Her story, we learned, is intimately intertwined with the writer/creator of the one-woman play. My challenge was to convince a behind-the-scenes guy to agree to go in front of the camera and tell his story - which is so much a part of Sunny and the Marilyn Forever Blonde story.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Tammy: The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The response has been both humbling and inspiring. It feels great to have validation that we've told a story that can capture an audience's attention.
Greg: What we didn't expect was such a immediate reaction in ticket sales. The American Documentary Film Festival had scheduled "Becoming Marilyn Monroe" for a smaller 150 seat theater. The minute the film was announced ticket sales took off and we were moved to a 500 seat theater. Within a week, AmDocs added a second screening. "Becoming Marilyn Monroe" seems to have the same effect on screen as our stage play, "Marilyn Forever Blonde" and for audiences over the last decade.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Tammy: I think the most wonderful surprise for me was witnessing how the audience warmly and enthusiastically embrace Sunny. It's like she's been able to bring a piece of Marilyn to them personally and they just can't seem to get enough of her onstage or on the screen.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Tammy: I think every filmmaker would like to share their movie with as many people as possible. I'd love this movie to inspire people to never give up on their dreams. Marilyn, Sunny, and Greg are all great examples of people that had the inspiration and the determination to attempt something that many would consider an impossible dream or just another crazy idea.
Greg: We discovered over the years that there are thousands upon thousands of Marilyn Monroe fans and hundreds of Marilyn Fan Clubs. Many of them are in foreign countries which we never visited with the play and yet they have followed Sunny, the play and now the film intensely for nearly a decade. Sunny just did an interview last week with the President of the German Marilyn Monroe Fan Club and he says his members can't wait to see the film.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Tammy: We're in the early stages of submitting our movie to film festivals right now so we're open to all possibilities. We'd welcome film festival acceptance, sales agents, buyers and distributors to get involved with getting this movie out to as many forums as possible.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Tammy: Several things come to mind with regard to the impact/reception for this movie. I'd like the audience to be entertained while going on this journey with the endearing subjects of our story. By the end of the movie, I'd like the audience to feel just a little closer to Marilyn.
Greg: I would like audiences o leave theater with a little better understanding as to what it is that has kept Marilyn's essence alive for nearly three quarters of a century! It is really quite astounding!
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Tammy: I believe one of the key questions raised in watching this movie is what is the extent of the impact a screen legend can have on society at the peak of their fame as well as their continuing influence for decades to come. For example, Marilyn's impact on a 10-year-old boy to pursue a dream and 5 years later realizing the manifestation of that dream, as well as a courageous actress that decides to portray the icon with the full dedication to doing her justice.
Would you like to add anything else?
Tammy: Only that I'm in deep gratitude for everyone involved with this project. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and love to bring a project like this to life and it's been a privilege every step of the way.
Greg: I can truthfully say without Tammy's dedication to this project I don't think this film would have ever been made. Film isn't like the stage. It's much more tedious and not near as much fun! But the end result is the same.
It's all up to the audience!
Interview: April 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela