×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thesp’s roles of attraction

Variety's Indie Impact Awards: Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron could be the living embodiment of Indie Impact: a glamorous star who keeps taking the plunge in big-budget studio tentpoles, yet just as consistently keeps crossing over to demanding roles in gritty, small-scale personal projects. Equally at home in effervescent comedy and gut-wrenching drama, she’s a passionate promoter of progressive efforts to bring about social change.

At Variety ‘s 2005 screening of “North Country” — one of the few films of the last decade which tried seriously to take on class issues in the U.S. — the star proudly announced, “Warner Bros., I tip my hat to you for having the balls to make this movie.” It’s a classic Theron gesture, offering her bosses public kudos for thinking outside the box.

Of course, like any other star, she’s spent her time within a studio “box.” If she can have some fun — cracking safes in her lingerie for “The Italian Job,” for instance — you sense she’ll go along, at least until an edgier, more interesting role comes her way. And when the parts don’t materialize on their own, Theron will step in as producer, using her clout to help get such passion projects as “Sleepwalking” and “Monster” off the ground.

Her resume evidences no desire to court audience affection: not by playing a no-nonsense homicide detective in “In the Valley of Elah,” nor in her Oscar-winning “Monster,” during which no less an authority than Roger Ebert failed to recognize the actress playing the doomed Aileen Wuornos, and ultimately deemed her work “not a performance but an embodiment.”

She’s even less cuddly in her current indie, “Young Adult,” as alcoholic, narcissistic genre writer Mavis Gray, who returns to her home town to steal her old high school boyfriend from his wife and infant daughter. When a reporter confesses her antics made him cringe, the actress is delighted. “Isn’t it nice when somebody says, ‘I’ve been cringing the whole time watching the movie,’ and it’s actually a compliment? Yeah, it’s definitely a highlight of my career.”

If her choice of material smacks of casual instinct, so does her approach to it. “I think I’m obsessive, so when I read something I like and I wanna do, I become obsessed,” she confesses. “I just think about it all the time, and then I find myself walking down the street and I’m seeing somebody do something and I just obsessively bring it back to … the character.”

She dislikes the pace of moviemaking (“I’m a bit ADD”) and has no use for rehearsals. Pressed further on her way of working, she finally asserts, “I don’t really like fussing about. I think for me finding a character is a very isolated process, and I don’t even really know what the process is. So when I use that word, please don’t take anything serious.”

And don’t take all that glamour stuff too serious, either. The South Africa native is still a country gal at heart. At BAFTA’s “A Life in Pictures” tribute, when quizzed about her “transformation” into the gritty protagonists of “Monster” and “North Country,” Theron explained how easy it is to slip in false teeth or rub some dirt on her face.

“The real transformation,” she gently reminded her inquisitor, “is for the red carpet and the gowns.”

Palm Springs International Film Festival 2012
Time for fest to face acad shift? | Fest personalizes experience by hosting retreat | Honorees ready themselves for a busy ’12 | Blended lingos boost appeal

Variety’s Indie Impact Awards: Charlize Theron
Thesp’s roles of attraction | Changing faces

More Film

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

  • A Womans Work-The NFLs Cheerleader Problem

    Tribeca Documentaries Explore Gender Issues in Sport

    Up until recently, what it meant to be a professional female athlete in a world dominated by men wasn’t an issue that garnered high volumes of public interest, let alone national headlines. But that all changed in October 2017 when stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper [...]

  • Lizzo Coachella Valley Music and Arts

    Lizzo Joins Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in Stripper Film 'Hustlers'

    After the release of her third album and a pair of high-profile Coachella performances, Lizzo announced today that she will be joining Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in the stripper-themed film “Hustlers.” Based on a true story, the film focuses on strippers who band together to turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street male [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Marc Malkin The Big Ticket Podcast

    Variety, iHeartMedia Launch New Film Podcast 'The Big Ticket' With Marc Malkin

    Variety and iHeartMedia have announced the premiere of “The Big Ticket,” a new weekly film-focused podcast hosted by Marc Malkin, the magazine’s senior film awards and events & lifestyle editor. The podcast will feature sit-down interviews with Hollywood’s hottest stars and filmmakers talking movies, the business and more. New episodes will be released every Thursday [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content