Jessica Chastain is in negotiations to play big screen icon Marilyn Monroe in Blonde from director Andrew Dominik (Killing Them Softly, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).

The filmmaker has been developing the project for several years, writing the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel on spec, with Naomi Watts once attached to star back in 2010. The 700-page novel was first published in 2000, with the author drawing on historical and biographical sources to re-imagine the inner, poetic and spiritual life of this silver screen star, telling Norma Jeane Baker a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe's story in essentially her own voice, showing how she overcame the odds to achieve immense, global stardom in the 1950s. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 2001, and it was also adapted into a 2001 TV mini-series starring Poppy Montgomery.

Brad Pitt, who starred in both of Andrew Dominik's feature films, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly, is producing with his Plan B partner Dede Gardner. The actor-producer previously starred with Jessica Chastain in The Tree of Life, with insiders claiming that Brad Pitt was instrumental in convincing the actress to take on this challenging role.

Back in 2012, during our exclusive interview for Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik had this to say about the project.

"There's a movie called Blonde that I'm working on, which is based on a book by Joyce Carol Oates, and it's about the life of Marilyn Monroe. It's kind of a Grimm's fairy tale about a person who is kind of losing their way. The script has been written for awhile, but I'm sort of reworking it at the moment. I really want to do it. It's kind of like my dream project."

Production is scheduled to begin in August, although scheduling still has to be worked out with the actress' upcoming project The Zookeeper's Wife. Jessica Chastain will next be seen in Interstellar, arriving in theaters November 7, and she is currently shooting Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak.