Earlier this week, EW.com caught up with Charlize Theron, who was in Park City promoting Sleepwalking, a drama in which she plays the unstable, absentee mother of a 12-year-old girl (Bridge to Terabithia’s AnnaSophia Robb). Theron also served as a producer on the film, just as she did on 2003’s Monster, the dark drama for which she won a Best Actress Oscar. The thoughtful star shared her feelings about how she chooses her roles, the ways in which women are portrayed in movies, and whether her increasing workload behind the camera may one day include directing.
Charlize Theron seems an even-tempered person, with amused, intelligent views on her life, her work and the state of the world. But one sure-fire way to rattle her is to ask why she doesn’t play more glamorous roles.
On the face of it, this isn’t a stupid question. South African-born Theron, 32, is among the better-looking members of her peer group – leading actresses based in Los Angeles – in which looks are a virtual pre-condition of entry. Yet it’s true that her stature derives largely from roles that disguise her beauty.
She won a best actress Oscar four years ago via this route, gaining 30 pounds to play the serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Throughout the film she looked bleary-eyed, puffy and unkempt with a blotchy complexion.
In North Country (2005), she portrayed Josey Aimes, a working-class single mother who was in the first group of women to work in a Minnesota mine and who won a landmark sexual harassment case.
Now Theron is at it again. In her new film, In the Valley of Elah, she is another single mother suffering chauvinistic behaviour from male colleagues. As Emily Sanders, a small-town Tennessee police detective, she helps a retired soldier (Tommy Lee Jones) investigate the odd disappearance of his son after the young man returns from a tour of duty in Iraq.
She’s a beautiful Hollywood star, but Charlize Theron is much more interested in building a reputation as a serious actress. The Oscar winner – whose partner is Irish actor Stuart Townsend – talks to Ben Falk about surviving her traumatic background.
Who would have thought it? A stunning, leggy, blonde former model is now one of the most respected character actresses in Hollywood.
At just 32, Charlize Theron has an Oscar on her mantelpiece and is once again ditching the fair locks to play a dogged detective in Crash director Paul Haggis’s upmarket drama In The Valley Of Elah.
“It is the best thing that cigarettes have ever given me,” laughs the South-African born actress, who met Haggis when the pair nipped out for sneaky fags while stomping the awards beat (she had been nominated for North Country). “We were the only two sad cases outside in the alley.”
“I’m going to do something filthy,” says Charlize Theron. “Is that all right?” Go ahead, I say, intrigued. She places a cigarette between her lips and lights up. How disappointing.
Smokers are a dying breed in Los Angeles, but Theron partly has her “filthy” habit to thank for her role in Paul Haggis’s haunting Iraq war film, In the Valley of Elah. “It’s the one and only good thing that will ever come from smoking,” she says, smiling, her green eyes obscured behind designer sunglasses. The story goes that it was her and Haggis’s mutual craving for nicotine that first brought them together. “We were doing the awards circle and we were the only two losers out in the alley smoking,” laughs the willowy 32-year-old. “We started talking about this project, and a year later he sent me the script. I read it, and the next day I said, ‘Count me in’.”
In his follow-up to the Oscar-winning race drama Crash, Haggis draws on the real-life murder of a GI back from Iraq to highlight the psychological and emotional damage being done to soldiers and to raise questions of moral responsibility. Theron plays Emily Sanders, a no-nonsense police detective and single mother, who helps the victim’s father (Tommy Lee Jones) circumvent Army red tape and uncover the truth about his son’s last hours.
It’s official. Charlize has been named Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive. It’s not like any of us had any doubt that it was her, but it’s still nice to finally see it announced. The photos from the spread can be viewed here at esquire.com or here in the gallery. The interview is behind the cut below. Happy reading and viewing the super sexy photos. 😀