Interview: Charlize Theron

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Born on a farm in Benoni, South Africa on August 7, 1975, Charlize Theron arrived in Hollywood at the age of 18 and took Tinseltown by storm. In less than a year, she appeared in her first film and soon thereafter began landing substantial roles in a string of features which has included The Devil’s Advocate, Mighty Joe Young, The Cider House Rules, Reindeer Games, Men of Honor, The Legend of Bagger Vance, 15 Minutes, The Italian Job, Sweet November, The curse of the Jade Scorpion and North Country. Last year, she landed an Academy Award for her frightening transformation into serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the movie Monster. And here, she shares her thoughts about Aeon Flux, her latest endeavor, with The Black Star News.

BSN: How did you settle on Aeon’s physical appearance in this film?
CT: She was created by Peter Chung, someone who I think is a very talented man. I wanted to take those elements that he originally created for her and celebrate them as much as possible to the extent I was capable in the world of film. Obviously the hair that he had created for her was somewhat impossible for us to do, but I wanted whatever decisions we made about her physically to always reflect what he’d created. So, we tried to stay as close to that as we possibly could.

BSN: How would you describe her as a character?
CT: I think she’s a woman who is very strong, quite a free-thinker, and someone who doesn’t quite always trust everything around her, and questions. A lot of what in the society that she lives. And the greatest arc for her is that she thinks that this one mission will change her life and make things better, but actually what happens is it just opens up a big can of worms as to her existence. And she has to make some really tough decisions.

BSN: You gained about 30 pounds for Monster, but this must have been another physically-demanding role, though in a very different way.
CT: I trained for about three-and-a-half, four months with Charlie Croughwell who is the stunt coordinator, and his crew, Mika [Saito] and Terry [Bartlett]. Terry performed with Cirque de Soleil for 20 years, and he really helped me with the gymnastic aspects, and the acrobatic, trampoline and wire work. And Mika really helped me just getting ready, because I hadn’t done anything with my body for two years, since Monster. So, physically, even though I’d lost the weight, I needed to go and build some muscle back. And Mika was great in helping me strength train and in getting me to a place where I felt physically capable of doing the things that I had to do in this film.

BSN: Why not just leave all the acrobatics to a stunt double?
CT: The physical aspect of this movie was something that I felt very challenged by, and it was something that, I don’t know, I got very excited about to see how far I could actually push myself and how many new things I could learn to do on my own on this film, and to really physically feel like I was this character. To not go, “Oh, well, I’ll just do this and let the stunt people do that.� Physically, I got excited about pushing my body to that limit.

BSN: Sounds like the physical aspect of a role is as important to you as your speaking part.
CT: It is important to me. I was a ballerina for 12 years, and it took me years to figure out why I loved ballet so much.

BSN: Why was that?
CT: It wasn’t because I liked the technical aspect of it. I just liked to get on stage and tell a story. And for years, I did that with just using my body. So, for me, the physical aspect was so much more important than what I’m verbally going to say.

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