Comic-Con@Home: Charlize Theron: Evolution Of A Badass – An Action Hero Career Retrospective

by Benjamin Hall

Producer and actress Charlize Theron talked with IGN’s Terri Schwartz about her work in action films during this Comic-Con@Home retrospective. (It is worth noting that the audio quality and volume of Theron’s microphone is fine during this panel, but Schwartz’s audio is a little loud and has a weird static sound.) Theron reminisced about her inspirations during the panel, including first seeing Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien (1979). Also, she talked about seeing various action movies at a time she (seemingly fondly) recalled as probably being “too young” to see them.

Theron admitted at one point to a past jealousy of actors like Jack Nicholson and other male actors and how it is often due to women being put into cliché roles that fall into the “Madonna/Whore” dichotomy — meaning that women in major motion pictures are not really getting to explore the human condition as much as men.

There was also a good deal of talk about stunts, including how tiring they can be when shooting a movie. When Schwartz inquired about The Italian Job (2003) Theron mentions that it was insulting to have to train more with the cars simply because she was a woman. Though, she also fondly remembered outdoing actor Mark Wahlberg when it came to doing certain stunts without puking. Theron talked about authenticity being important in stunt work, such as with the stunts in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Atomic Blonde (2017). The former being what she viewed as her second chance at becoming an action star. While the latter is one she credited the cast and crew with doing such a good job with bringing authenticity to the stunts.

The last 10 minutes primarily focused on Theron’s latest production The Old Guard (2020). The panel wrapped up with Theron addressing a colleague’s quote about her allegedly being fearless. She talked about how she still feels fear and how panic drives her. Earlier on, she mentioned her anxiety about how possibly not getting another chance to act in action films was one of these driving fears.

Arguably, one of the most interesting things about this panel is how one can compare Theron’s career as an actor and producer to actor and producer Michael Douglas’s career.

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