Williams spoke at the Palms Spring Film Festival this weekend, after accepting the Desert Palm Achievement Award for her role in “My Week With Marilyn.”
“My only wish is that Marilyn herself could have been lucky enough to have experienced in her lifetime what I am experiencing tonight,” she told the audience.
“Despite her gifts as a performer, the likes of which we haven’t seen with since, never got the recognition she deserved,” she said.
Based on two books by Colin Clark, the movie chronicles a week in Monroe’s life while she was in Great Britain filming the 1957 picture “The Prince and the Showgirl,” with Laurence Olivier.
Marilyn takes a week off from filming to explore the English countryside with Clark, while her husband is back in the United States on business.
Michelle was moved by the way the film explored Monroe’s other persona, off screen, as Norma Jean.
“For me, the most crucial discovery — the flash — was that the widely accepted image of Marilyn Monroe was a character that Norma Jeane played,” Williams told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Unless you study her and understand her a bit better than the commonly accepted view, one could miss who she was underneath that. Marilyn was a part she played,” she said.
“I want to thank my director Simon Curtis for entrusting me with [Monroe’s] beautiful soul, her valiant struggle, and her eternal heart,” Williams said. “And I want you to know that I accept this award on both of our behalfs.”
The film, which had a limited release, has grossed $14 million worldwide, since it hit theaters just before Thanksgiving last year.
The film also stars Emma Watson, Dominic Cooper, Dougray Scott and Kenneth Branagh.
Check out her speech below.