Charlize covers the November 2018 issue of ELLE

Charlize Theron has never been interested in playing the ingenue. In 2003, during the height of the rom-com, Theron took on Monster’s hooker–turned–serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, a role for which she gained 30 pounds and ultimately won an Academy Award. That same year, the film’s debut director, Patty Jenkins, told ELLE about Theron, “I might not be as experienced as some other great director, but I do know badass girls. I know who’s strong.” (Fittingly, Jenkins went on to direct 2017’s Wonder Woman, the highest-grossing live-action film from a female director.)

Fifteen years ago, Theron founded Denver and Delilah Productions (named for the 43-year-old actress’s dogs), in part to champion messy, complicated women, like Atomic Blonde’s ruthless, violent Lorraine Broughton and Tully’s Marlo, the profoundly tired postpartum mother of three. Now Theron slips into the heels of Megyn Kelly in a forthcoming biopic of the former Fox News host. Even when she isn’t in the starring role, Theron’s delivering important narratives to the screen—she coproduced this month’s A Private War, based on the true story of war correspondent Marie Colvin, played by Rosamund Pike—as well as advocating for equal representation behind the scenes. “You cannot tell the universal, diverse stories of this earth that we live on without women and their participation,” she says. “You just can’t do it—it’s impossible.”

On not being surprised by the Harvey Weinstein allegations:
“When I look back and think about my experience with him, how I felt about him—we don’t wanna just go by assumption—but there were definite things. It’s made me look at trusting [my] instincts better. This is a moment for all of us to re-educate ourselves. Not just men, but women, too.”

On enlisting more champions for change:
“Support from both sexes is very important right now. I don’t want to undermine the support that we’ve been getting from men in this fight, because we can’t do this alone. The great thing is that we don’t have to. There are guys out there who are just as desperate for change to come. I’m inviting anybody on this boat. You wanna join this fight? You’re so welcome. Come with us.”

“I felt like I didn’t seem grateful. [Women] overapologize for who we are and what we feel we deserve. I definitely had a moment doing all those things. Then I just asked, and it was, ‘Yes, of course.’ But I realize the majority of women in my industry don’t have that luxury. The ones who feel like they can just get replaced. That’s the fight I want to address.”

On Hollywood’s double standard for box-office flops:
“[Women] have to work so much harder to come back from a failure. It’s not so dependent on the star when it’s a male. It’s more, ‘Well, maybe the movie didn’t work.’ With females, it’s like, ‘The movie didn’t work because of her.’ That needs to change. Financiers are more willing to finance a male star. I just wonder what beautiful storytelling we have missed out on because [people] were too scared to take a chance on a woman.”

On impostor syndrome:
“Every single time I start a job, I still have the fear, ‘I’m gonna get fired. They’re gonna find out I’m a terrible actor. This is gonna be where they find out that I’m just a total lie.’ ”

On raising daughters:
“I look at my two beautiful girls, and I have the worries that every other mother has. I want them to be safe and able to live their full potential. Whenever that feels threatened, I go a little psycho. I will kill for them. That’s gonna be used as evidence one day in court!”

Source: ELLE