Profile: Charlize Theron Takes a Journey to the ‘Valley of Elah’ For Her New Role

Actress Charlize Theron would rather you forget that she is statuesque and beautiful and instead focus on her passion … acting. That passion earned the talented beauty an Academy Award for her performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003’s MONSTER. Theron was almost unrecognizable, gaining 30 pounds, wearing unflattering clothes, a bad haircut and little makeup for the part.

In fact, in many of her films she is physically toned down for authenticity purposes. I mean, c’mon, have you seen the real Wuornos? They are hardly two peas in a pod. And because of her God given good looks Theron had to fight to get that part. But fighting is something Theron has no problem doing. If she believes in the material she will do whatever it takes to be a part of it, even if that means taking a smaller part in a film.

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4 Charlize Theron: The Oscar winner, who stars in “In the Valley of Elah,” says her favorite scenes were the ones where she has no dialogue. “A look can speak volumes,” says Theron, who plays a police detective looking for a soldier who has gone missing after returning from Iraq. Adds Theron: “For me, it reminds me of being a ballerina for 12 years and never having words. In fact, I’m not a big fan of words and directors hate me sometimes for that fact. I have a very clear understanding of how powerful the physical can be. You can have an entire monologue, and sometimes as actors we get lost in those showy moments. I have no desire for monologues.”She even had a strange request for director Paul Haggis. “When Paul started writing my part, I was like, ‘Can you cut down the lines? Please?’ ” She laughs and adds, “I always say I’m a really good actor when I’m not speaking.” She stars later this year in “Sleepwalking,” about an 11-year-old girl (AnnaSophia Robb) who must deal with the mother who abandoned her. She will also star in “The Ice at the Bottom of the World,” a drama about a retired Navy captain who comes home to the Chesapeake Bay to reunite with his family.

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Jonesin’ for an Oscar

That Paul Haggis (call him London, Ontario’s favourite son) is a veritable Oscar machine. He crested the horizon for a Best Picture win for Million Dollar Baby, then one for Crash, which he wrote/directed, then a screenwriting nom for Letters From Iwo Jima, and now his latest, In the Valley of Elah, should be good for bagging a coupla big ones. Consider a scene early in the film, in which Tommy Lee Jones, a bereaved father, tells a runty kid, whose single mom is Charlize Theron, the story of David and Goliath. The Bible says the fight supposedly takes place in the valley of Elah. You can almost hear that Best Pic trophy factory working overtime.

Don’t mistake this seasonal cynicism for a dislike of this film, by the way, because it is fantastic. You’ve probably already heard about Tommy Lee Jones’s performance. He plays a dad whose son, just after returning home from a tour in Iraq, goes AWOL, so he drives downstate to the army base looking for him. Theron, the beat cop, gets the drab brown and the middle part of her hair just right. Each minor character, from Susan Sarandon’s bereaved mom to Jason Patric’s army cop, is a perfectly measured ingredient in what is bound to be a rousing success on the awards circuit.

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Breil’s Golden Girl

Charlize Theron has signed a multi-year deal with Italian luxury watch and jewellery brand, Breil Milano. The Oscar-winning Monster star was shot for Breil’s upcoming campaign in LA, looking pensive whilst laden with jewels and timepieces from Breil’s Eden and Eros collections. “Ms Theron was chosen not only for her natural beauty, but because she epitomises the modern woman; a mix of sensuality and determination, sophistication and down-to-earth attitude, elegance and simplicity,” said a spokesperson for the label. The new campaign will debut another “star” – the new Breil Milano mantra, “Touch, Feel, Breil” – when it breaks in the European and US press in the run up to Christmas.


Theron impressed with boyfriend’s screenplay efforts

Charlize Theron has heaped praise on her “incredible” boyfriend Stuart Townsend after watching him toil over his first movie script. The Oscar-winning actress reveals Townsend wrote the screenplay for Battle in Seattle at the home the couple shares in Los Angeles – and suffered the rejections and nerves as her partner attempted to shop his script around Hollywood. She says, “The amount of passion, of time and effort that he committed to writing that script really blew me away. “When you love somebody and you’re that close somebody, we always expect the worst because he had never written a script before, but we’re very good at kind of separating our work from our relationship so, as a work colleague, when he gave me the script and I read it I wanted to be as honest as I possibly could. “I’ll never forget the day when he gave it to me and the paper was still hot from coming out of the printer and I was in the kitchen. “He left because he was nervous and disappeared for three hours. I sat in the kitchen and I couldn’t stop reading it. “Then I saw him go through the struggle that a lot of first time filmmakers go through when they have a great piece of material but it’s original and it’s different. “I tip my hat to this guy because what he did was really incredible.” Theron was so impressed with the Irishman’s efforts, she insisted on taking a lead role, opposite Ray Liotta, Andre Benjamin, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Rodriguez.


Drama examines war’s hidden toll

Paul Haggis, the co-writer and director of the volatile Crash, essays the toll of the Iraq war in In the Valley of Elah.

That premise suggests horrific combat scenes and explosive emotions among a range of characters, all caught with the intense close-ups and jerky editing rhythms that propelled Crash.

Yet Haggis’ new film, which is set almost entirely stateside, is slow, somber and discreetly framed. It takes its cue from its central character, a retired Army sergeant who served in the military police and for whom ironclad control is first nature.

Tommy Lee Jones pours his underspoken authority into the painful role of Hank Deerfield, an unapologetic patriot who will interrupt an important errand to see that an incorrectly displayed American flag is flown properly.

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