Naomi Watts is set to play Marilyn Monroe in a new biopic, which is based on a controversial book detailing the actress' love affairs and encounters on the casting couch.
Titled Blonde, the film is a fictionalised account of Monroe's life by Joyce Carol Oates, the best-selling US author.
Blonde caused a stir on its publication in 2000, not least because its 700 pages went into salacious detail about Monroe's sex life.
The book referred to the men in Monroe's life only by nicknames -- 'the Ex-Athlete', 'the Playwright' and 'the President' standing in for Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller and John F Kennedy.
In one scene from the book, Monroe engaged in a sexual act with the President while he spoke to Fidel Castro on the telephone.
Watts will start shooting the film, which is also called Blonde, in January.
Details were unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursrday.
The film will trace the actress' life from her humble beginnings as Norma Jeane Baker, a child bride from a dirt-poor background, to the creation of the Marilyn 'myth'.
The film will be directed by Andrew Dominik, of the Brad Pitt Western The Assassination of Jesse James fame.
'Why is Marilyn Monroe the great female icon of the 20th century? For men, she is an object of sexual desire who is desperately in need of rescue. For women, she embodies all the injustices visited upon the feminine -- a sister, a Cinderella, consigned to live among the ashes,' the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
'I want to tell the story of Norma Jeane as a central figure in a fairy-tale; an orphan child lost in the woods of Hollywood, being consumed by that great icon,' he added.
Vincent Maraval, of the film's distributor, Wild Bunch, said the biopic 'will not be a classic one but a modern Raging Bull which will explore one of the most iconic figures of the last century.'