Blonde Ambition: Charlotte Sullivan courts controversy as Marilyn Monroe in The Kennedys
Almost 50 years after JFK’s assassination, scandal still dogs the Kennedys. A new eight-hour miniseries about the family, starring Greg Kinnear as John, Katie Holmes as Jackie and the 27-year-old Torontonian Charlotte Sullivan as Marilyn Monroe, was rattling cages even before it began filming here last June. The producer of The Kennedys is Joel Surnow—an outspoken Republican, friend to Rush Limbaugh and creator of 24—so supporters of America’s royal family have been anticipating a vindictive interpretation. After viewing the final cut in January, the History Channel in the States pulled the plug—reportedly due to historical inaccuracies, but rumour has it that Caroline Kennedy, who allegedly balked at the racy depiction of the carryings-on in Camelot, applied pressure. A key player in those dramas, of course, was the archetypal tragic starlet, Monroe. At first glance, Sullivan is a natural choice for the role. Since landing the part of mean girl Marion Hawthorne in Harriet the Spy at age 11, she’s played her share of libidinous Marilyn-esque characters—from the puck bunny Mandy on MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives to the bondage-chic superhero Maxima on Smallville. And she’s been rocking the platinum coif and blood-red pout for years. But Sullivan also has the trace of steel—evident in her portrayal of reluctant police officer Gail Peck on the hit drama Rookie Blue—required to nail Monroe’s hidden dark side. And like Monroe, Sullivan has spent a good part of her career angling for the chance to prove she’s more than just a bombshell. It’s fitting that her most challenging and high-profile role is Hollywood’s ultimate sex symbol. Monroe lived and died by the double-edged truism: a little controversy never hurts.
Premiering April 10, History Television