Kelli Garner to play Marilyn Monroe in Toronto

Kelli Garner, pictured in August 2014. Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

TORONTO — Kelli Garner has been chosen to portray Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe in a TV miniseries that will be filmed in Toronto.

Susan Sarandon has signed on to play Monroe’s mentally ill mother Gladys.

Global News was first to report that Marilyn, a four-hour miniseries for U.S. cable channel Lifetime, will be shot in Ontario.

Cameras are scheduled to roll from early December until mid-February. Additional production will be completed in Los Angeles.

Marilyn is based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s 2009 book The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe and will be directed by Laurie Collyer.

According to Lifetime: “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.”

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Garner, 30, is a California native best known for playing Kate on the short-lived series Pan Am.

This won’t be the first time Garner has worked in Canada. Her credits include Montreal-shot The Aviator, made-in-Ontario film Lars and the Real Girl, and Vancouver-filmed Horns.

Monroe died in 1962 at 36. Theories about the circumstances of her death continue to flourish.

She made 1953’s Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ont. and 1954’s River of No Return in Banff, Alberta.

In the 2011 miniseries The Kennedys — which was shot in Toronto and Hamilton — Monroe was portrayed by Toronto-born Rookie Blue star Charlotte Sullivan. Other actresses who have played Monroe on screen include Michelle Williams, Mira Sorvino, and Poppy Montgomery.

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