Susan Sarandon to Portray Marilyn Monroe's Mentally Ill Mother in Lifetime Miniseries

Pam WrightLife

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Susan Sarandon will be channeling Marilyn Monroe's mentally ill mother in an upcoming Lifetime miniseries.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Sarandon has signed to play the troubled star's mother in Marilyn — Lifetime's four-hour miniseries based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s New York Times bestseller, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, which is considered the most definitive Monroe biography. The miniseries will depict “what the iconic superstar succeeded in hiding from an all-too-invasive world.”

Marilyn is both the personification of sex, whose first marriage ironically collapses because of her frigidity, and a fragile artist who seeks the approval and protection of men. But after tumultuous marriages with Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, she realizes she has the strength to stand on her own. She becomes the Face and Voice of an era, yet wants most of all to be someone’s mother and someone’s little girl. She’s the Marilyn you haven’t seen before, the artist who, by masking the truth with an image, gives her greatest performance,” said Lifetime's official release on the miniseries.

Sarandon will play Gladys Mortenson, a mentally ill and devout Christian Scientist, who pleaded with her daughter to give up drugs and return to her faith.

Mortenson is described by the Hollywood Reporter as "a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, who is the product of a mother who committed suicide as a result of her own mental illness, and a father who died of syphilitic insanity. Frequently delusional, sometimes violent, Gladys sexually adventurous in her youth but taught her daughter that sex should be avoided at all costs. Deeply devoted to Christian Science, she urges Marilyn to reject her reliance on drugs and that her salvation will be achieved by returning to the tenets of the faith."

Stephen Kronish wrote the screenplay for Marilyn and will be directed by Laurie Collyer. The role of Marilyn Monroe has not been cast yet, and the miniseries is expected to premiere in 2015.

Pam Wright