“Fearless.” Few words have been used as often to describe Charlize Theron—and she’s certainly deserving of the label. Not only has she built a life in the arts over her 25-year career on her own terms, but a deep dive into her catalog of prestige character studies and genre-defining blockbusters reveals exacting instincts and a woman bold in her choices.
That’s why it’s especially surprising—disarming, even—to speak with the actor on a Sunday afternoon in October and have her confess to her career’s earliest roadblock: fear.
“I would have enjoyed everything a little bit more if I’d just chilled out and didn’t get so caught up in the fear and [the] feeling that there was a clock ticking,” she says, sitting in the privacy of her green room at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan. We’re just out of a preview screening of her latest awards-caliber project, “Bombshell,” and it’s a packed weekend trip of back-to-back press in New York City. “I was so rushed by all of it because I had this horrible fear that if this [didn’t] work out, I was going to go back to South Africa. I knew what that life was like, and I just didn’t want to do that.”
Much has been said of the life Theron left behind: a childhood on a farm in rural South Africa, milking cows and befriending goats; a mother who shot her violent, alcoholic father in self-defense during a particularly nasty fight. She left the farm at age 16, soon after his death, after being offered a chance to model, a vocation that took her to Europe and the United States. But her dream since the age of 4 had been to dance, and she moved to NYC to train at the Joffrey Ballet School before a knee injury at 19 cut those aspirations short. Her mother dusted her off, got her back on her feet, and brainstormed an alternative: acting. Theron booked a one-way flight to Los Angeles. Continue reading
In the corner of a drawing room in an extravagant London apartment, Charlize Theron is missing home. She’s been working away from Los Angeles for four months, traveling with her family—two kids and her mom—and she’s ready for a good night’s sleep in her own bed. But such is the nature of her unpredictable life: “I am not a planner,” Theron says, proudly. “I love that I work in an industry where something can come tomorrow and change the next six months of my life and make me think about things that I would never have explored on my own, and all of a sudden”—her eyes widen with enthusiasm—“you’re reading about shit you would never have been interested in before.”
For Theron, the last six months have been a doozy. Her life is not just the typical hopscotch of an actor’s existence; it’s the unforgiving schedule of an actor-producer-philanthropist. And not an actor-producer-philanthropist in the way that everyone claims to be one these days, but for real: The woman has three full-time jobs. Right now, for example, she’s promoting Bombshell, a movie about the Roger Ailes scandal at Fox News, in which she stars as anchor Megyn Kelly. The film is the 15th project from her production company, Denver and Delilah. While figuring out how to inhabit the character of a controversial personality, Theron was also trying to avert crisis. Two weeks before shooting, the movie’s financiers pulled out. Theron, accustomed to her dual existence of lead actor and backstage operator, leaped into action and made “a lot of phone calls.” By all accounts, Theron rescued the movie, but she underplays it. “I think it was just pure panic,” she says now.
Charlize Theron likes the darkness. It calls to her. It’s a place where she’s come to feel comfortable over the years, thanks to her ferocious, starkly nuanced performances as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (for which Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2004), Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: FuryRoad, the wicked queen Ravenna in Snow White & the Huntsman, and the icily lethal MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton in Atomic Blonde. So if you’re surprised to learn that she’s playing the romantic lead in the latest Seth Rogen rom-com, Long Shot, you’re not alone. “I never thought I would be in a rom-com,” says Theron, laughing. “I don’t think I would know how to do justice to a straightforward rom-com.”
We’re at Milk Studios in Hollywood, where Theron, 43, has just finished her cover shoot for Marie Claire. Dressed in an aqua wool crew-neck sweater, long caramel-colored palazzo pants, and shearling-lined Birkenstocks, she looks casual but also decidedly regal, with her sable hair cropped in a pageboy and green eyes sizzling in the afternoon light. Theron was a serious ballet dancer in her teens, and you can see it in her straight-backed posture, with her shoulders thrust back and chin held high. She’s reserved at first but grows increasingly warm as our conversation progresses. You get the sense that Theron would be a great person to be friends with—and a terrible person to cross. Continue reading
Charlize Theron is one of the world’s most recognised actresses. She is known for being a strong, confident woman. An actress, businesswoman, philanthropist and mum, her life is far from quiet. A strong-minded woman, Theron left her home country of South Africa at the age of 19 to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. With a one-way plane ticket bought for her by her mother, Theron had no idea what to expect. After several months of auditions she managed to secure a role in an upcoming movie as a supporting actress in “2 Days in the Valley”. Luckily for Theron the film was met with great reviews and she went on to secure larger roles with her success quickly growing.
To date, she has starred in dozens of Hollywood movies including “Monster”, for which she won an Academy Award in 2003, “Mighty Joe Young”, “Mad Max: Fury Road”, “Atomic Blonde” and most recently, the 2017 film “Tully”. As well as being an internationally recognised actress, Theron has her own production company which has created many films including: “The Burning Plain”and “Dark Places”, which she also starred in.
Theron is a single mum to two young adopted children, August and Jackson. She is also an activist and a charity worker. The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project was created in 2007 in an effort to support young African youths in the fight against disease. Theron is now an ambassador for a number of charities, many of which are helping young women in her home continent of Africa. In 2007 she was named a UN Messenger of Peace and she has spoken openly of her passion for the subject of women’s rights and equality. Continue reading
Atomic Blonde 2 (2020)
Charlize as Lorraine Broughton
Synopsis coming soon.
The Old Guard (2020)
Charlize as Andromache of Scythia/Andy
Andromache of Scythia "Andy" and her comrades ply their trade for those who can find and afford their services. But in the 21st century, immortality is a hard secret to keep, and when you live long enough, you learn that there are many fates worse than death.
Fast & Furious 9 (2020)
Charlize as Cipher
Synopsis coming soon.
Charlize as Megyn Kelly
US Release - December 13, 2019 (limited)
A few women decide to take on Fox News boss Roger Ailes and the toxic male culture he presided over at the network.
The Addams Family (2019)
Charlize as Morticia Addams (voice)
US Release October 11, 2019
An animated version of Charles Addams' series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family.
Now on Blu-ray, DVD & Streaming
Long Shot (2019)
Charlize as Charlotte Field
Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a gifted and free-spirited journalist with an affinity for trouble. Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is one of the most influential women in the world. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she's a powerhouse diplomat with a talent for...well, mostly everything.
Charlize as Marlo
Marlo, a mother of three, is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully.
Charlize as Elaine Markinson
An American businessman with a stake in a pharmaceutical company that's about to go public finds his life is thrown into turmoil by an incident in Mexico.