Aeon Flux, Atomic Blonde, Hancock, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, The Italian Job, The Old Guard... you sometimes forget just how many incredible genre movies Charlize Theron has starred in throughout her career. Of course, though, one does seem to stand above the rest: Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.
During a Comic-Con at Home panel celebrating her career as an action star, Theron reflected on Furiosa and linked it to another very special role played by a woman in a film.
“Furiosa is one of the most important characters I’ve ever played,” Theron said. “And I saw the potential, I knew how special it was right from the beginning and I chased it really hard because of that. I saw something that I’d never seen before as an opportunity for myself as an actor...to show a female character in a way that felt...the closest moment in my own life that I can look back to was the first time I saw Sigourney Weaver play Ripley.”
Weaver played Ripley in 1979's Alien, which is widely thought to be a true break-the-glass-ceiling moment for women not just in genre film, but film period. Theron said that when she first saw the film, and the performance, it changed her life.
“It just changed everything for me,” she said. “It was like the world opened up and the possibilities were just endless. The amount of intelligence she brought to that role, she was completely in [command] of it. She owned that world. But it wasn’t forced and it wasn’t written and it wasn’t acted. It was just lived. She was just living in that world in such an authentic way.”
Those memories flooded back to Theron when she started to think about Furiosa.
“Furiosa was the first time that I really felt like I couldn’t even look at her as a character,” Theron continued. “She felt so real to me. And maybe it was because she was so hard. The fact that we were [making the movie] for so long. We really did live in that environment for so long. It made me feel that way about her.”
“If that character, in a small part, can do what Ripley did for me as an actress, as a woman, that’s something I’m incredibly proud of,” she said. “That doesn’t happen in everybody’s career and I feel really lucky that I was given that opportunity, that I was prepared for that opportunity and that I was willing to lay it all out there, to give it my all.”
You can watch the full panel below. Theron talks not just about Furiosa, but being scheduled for six more weeks of driving lessons on The Italian Job than her male counterparts, choosing to do Atomic Blonde after only seen eight pages of a graphic novel, and much more.
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