Charlize Theron Takes a Swing at Male-Dominated Action Genre

With 'Atomic Blonde, actress sets sights on beating Bond and Bourne at their own game.

July 12, 2017 11:31 am

With the release of her new movie, Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron is not aiming to be the next Lara Croft.

She’s angling to knock Jason Bourne and James Bond off their perch.

“I got offered a lot of stuff in action movies that was either the girl behind the computer or the wife,” Theron told Variety in the movie trade’s latest cover story.

Coming off a best actress Oscar for Monster, Theron failed in her first attempt to launch a female-led action franchise with the critically-reviled film adaptation of the Japanese anime, Aeon Flux.

“When ‘Aeon Flux’ came to me, I thought that could be something. I was never completely sold on the entire concept, but I really loved (director) Karyn Kusama’s movie (Girlfight). So I threw myself into that with the belief that she’s a great filmmaker.”

“And then we f—ed it all up,” she added. “I just don’t think we really knew how to execute it. And it’s disappointing, but it happens. I’ve been in this business long enough to know that you cannot get it right every time. I might have gotten this right because of that.”

Charlize Theron Variety Cover

But a lot has changed since: Patty Jenkins, who directed Theron on Monster, proved that it doesn’t take a Y chromosome to be a marketable superhero with the box office success of Wonder Woman.

So here comes Atomic Blonde, opening July 28, in which Theron plays an assassin out for revenge from the spy agencies that sold her out, a killer who would have 007’s number if they ever crossed paths.

The South African-born actress certainly paid her dues for the action thriller—undergoing emergency dental surgery after clenched her jaw so hard she cracked two teeth while just getting ready for the shoot.

“It happened the first month of training,” Theron told Variety. “I had severe tooth pain, which I never had in my entire life.

“Having to cut one of the teeth out and root canals, it was tough. You want to be in your best fighting shape, and it’s hard. I had the removal and I had to put a donor bone in there to heal until I came back, and then I had another surgery to put a metal screw in there.”

Theron takes a rare break from all the punching and shooting in a scene from ‘Atomic Blonde.’ (Focus Features)

But it was important for Theron to make those action scenes beat the likes of Bond and Bourne, so she trained for two and a half months straight and rehearsed non-stop between takes.

“I’m coordinated because I was a dancer, and I definitely have movement memory, but I’ve never been a fighter,” she told the magazine. “I’m also really tall and a girl. That tends to make you look like you’re Big Bird.”

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