The rise of Ana de Armas: Everything you need to know about the Marilyn Monroe actor

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

If you are into film, it’s likely that you recognise Ana de Armas. She set hearts alight in No Time To Die, where she played a new kind of Bond girl – yes, she was wearing a deep plunge dress and looked incredibly beautiful – but she was fun, didn’t drool over Bond, and didn’t (spoiler) die some hideous death.

As well as this small but explosive role, you might know her from the 2019 murder-mystery Knives Out, where she acted alongside Daniel Craig again.

But soon the Cuban-Spanish actor is about to become a megastar, as she transforms into Marilyn Monroe for the forthcoming Netflix biopic Blonde, about the Hollywood legend. The biopic has been directed and written by Andrew Dominik, whose past credits include The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly.

The film will also star Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale (The Irishman, I, Tonya) and Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown) and has Dede Gardner (The King, Vice), Jeremy Kleiner (If Beale Street Could Talk, Ad Astra) and Brad Pitt listed as some of the producers working on the film.

Blonde is scheduled to be released on September 23, which is going to be here in the blink of an eye. In the meantime, here’s everything to know about de Armas, an actor who is soon going to be a household name.

Ana de Armas is Cuban and Spanish

De Armas was born in Havana, Cuba, though her maternal grandparents are Spanish. She grew up in a small town, Santa Cruz del Norte. She apparently had no access to the internet even as a teenager, watched very little television, and would go to her neighbour’s house to watch Hollywood films.

When she was 14 years old she joined Havana’s National Theatre of Cuba. She moved to Spain when she was 18 to pursue her career.

The following years saw her act in more Spanish television shows and films before she moved to Los Angeles.

Her first film role was in 2006

Even though she’s now just 34 years old, de Armas has already got 16 years of acting under her belt. Her first film role was back in 2006 in the Spanish-Cuban romance film Una rosa de Francia.

She was also cast as Carolina in the teen drama El Internado, in which she starred for six seasons from 2007 to 2010.

Her breakout role was in Blade Runner 2049

Despite starring in an increasing number of English-speaking films, including the 2015 film Knock Knock alongside Keanu Reeves and the 2016 film Exposed, with Reeves again, plus roles in the 2016 movie War Dogs and 2017’s Overdrive, it was the Denis Villeneuve-directed Blade Runner 2049, back in 2017, that brought de Armas to a wider audience.

She played Joi, Ryan Gosling’s holographic AI girlfriend, with one critic commenting: “Whenever Joi appears, the movie’s imaginative heart begins to race.”

Joi (Ana de Armas) is the holographic girlfriend of  Blade Runner K (Ryan Gosling) in the latest instalment of the film (Blade Runner 2049/Sony Pictures)
Joi (Ana de Armas) is the holographic girlfriend of Blade Runner K (Ryan Gosling) in the latest instalment of the film (Blade Runner 2049/Sony Pictures)

She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award

From there she went on to act in The Informer with Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen, and Wasp Network with Penélope Cruz and Édgar Ramírez. But de Armas stood out in her lead role in the 2019 mystery drama Knives Out, which featured a packed cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette and Christopher Plummer.

The film brought her international acclaim, including 13 award nominations and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

She then acted in Sergio and The Night Clerk, but her next major screen moment was playing Paloma in No Time to Die.

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in Knives Out (Claire Folger)
Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in Knives Out (Claire Folger)

She will play Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming Netflix series Blonde

Now, she will star as Marilyn Monroe. Based on the 1999 book by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde is going to follow the private life of Monroe in the 1950s and 1960s.

Speaking to Netflix Queue about her upcoming role, de Armas said: “Andrew’s ambitions were very clear from the start — to present a version of Marilyn Monroe’s life through her lens. He wanted the world to experience what it actually felt like to not only be Marilyn, but also Norma Jeane. I found that to be the most daring, unapologetic, and feminist take on her story that I had ever seen.”

Ana De Armas at the No Time To Die premiere in London, 2021 (Getty Images for EON Productions)
Ana De Armas at the No Time To Die premiere in London, 2021 (Getty Images for EON Productions)

She dated Ben Affleck in 2020

Ok, we know it’s incredibly boring and most often irrelevant to mention someone’s dating history. But given that Affleck is now engaged to Jennifer Lopez, 18 long years after their first engagement, it is worth mentioning that just before the duo rekindled their romance, de Armas reportedly dated Affleck for about a year. She met the actor while filming the 2022 erotic psychological thriller Deep Water, which was released in March.

De Armas was married to Spanish actor and model Marc Clotet for two years but their marriage ended in 2013.

At the time of writing, the actress is reportedly dating the executive for the dating app Tinder Paul Boukadakis. The pair were first seen together in public last year.

What else is lined up for de Armas?

De Armas also starred in The Gray Man, the forthcoming Netflix film starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, which has been making waves as the most expensive film ever commissioned by Netflix - it reportedly had a production budget of $200 million. It’s going to be released on Netflix on July 22.