Young Oxford graduate Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) has dreams of getting into the movies, or, as he prefers to say, "run off to the circus". He pursues a production position, and is eventually named Third Assistant Director for The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). Directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier (Sir Kenneth Branagh), the movie also stars Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). While Olivier, the renowned stage actor is looking to become a movie star, Monroe is a movie star looking to be seen as a serious actress. Monroe is terribly self-conscious, has her own full-time acting coach in Paula Strasberg (Zoë Wanamaker), and is frequently late. It all drives Olivier a bit mad and he assigns Colin to supervise her and make sure she gets to work on time. Colin and Marilyn soon develop a rapport and they have a positive effect on one another.