July 4 , 2020
It has undergone a change of look radical : black hair cut short and a body of athlete. Charlize Theron has sacrificed her blonde locks and her sculptural forms to The Old Guard, an action film in which she plays a mercenary immortal who wields both the sword that the rifle-machine-gunner. The mysterious senshi command a group of men ready to fight. A role for the star south african 44-year-old, who faces life with determination since his youth busy in the suburbs of Johannesburg. A drama the mark forever : his mother kills under his eyes, in a state of legitimate defence, his alcoholic father and violent. Later, the girl, a classical dancer since 6 years old, has to give up his passion because of a knee injury. After a stint at modeling, she attempts a career in Hollywood, with the support of Al Pacino, who puts her foot in the stirrup in The devil’s advocate (1997), Taylor Hackford. Directors such as Woody Allen (Celebrity) and James Gray (The Yards) scent its potential. The consecration comes with Monster (2003), Patty Jenkins, in which she plays a serial killer, weighted fifteen pounds and disfigured. His performance earned him the oscar for best actress. Since then, she alternates between the blockbusters (Snow white and the huntsman, Mad Max, Fury Road, Prometheus, Fast & Furious) and independent productions (Young Adult, Tully, Seduced me if you can !, Scandal). Always with roles of strong women and committed as she is.
How do you feel about the health crisis?
Day-to-day, in Los Angeles. I am in good health, my family, also. There is still a positive point : it promotes mutual help and solidarity. Now, there is a concern about each other, it is a good thing. Professionally, we all pressed the pause button! It would be completely irresponsible to consider the recovery as the pandemic rages. The projects are pushed back or suspended. Thus, the output of Fast & Furious 9, Justin Lin, is shifted to 2021. My company, Denver and Delilah Productions, is also at the point of death. In fact, the whole world is wondering how we are going to put the business on foot.
I have always been fascinated by the expression of the body. Before becoming an actress, I was heading for a career of a ballerina
In the meantime, The Old Guard arrives on Netflix…
This is not the first time I work with them. Our collaboration began about three years. I produced two series for Netflix, which I am very proud of : Girlbossthe success story of a fashion designer, and Mindhunter, which traces the genesis of the profiling of serial killers in the 1970s, a program overseen by David Fincher. I accepted The Old Guard after having had a big crush on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Leandro Fernandez, who has built a visual world that is singular and attractive. I was shooting Scandal , Jay Roach, when I discovered through my agent. I immediately felt that there was plenty of things to explore cinematically. The potential of this story seemed to me unlimited, and I found the heroine’s complex and emotional, strong and vulnerable. Human, what! Because one always develops a strength to hide a vulnerability. One does not go without the other, to believe otherwise is extremely shortsighted.
Mad Max Fury Road, The Atomic Blond, The Old Guard : you exult to kick the backsides of the men on the screen?
Women, too, not jealous! Each time, these action scenes are never free. They feed on the evolution of the character and are part of the narrative. I have always been fascinated by the expression of the body. Before becoming an actress, I was heading for a career as a ballerina. The turning point that I have made today is a return to the way initial that I had chosen to tell stories. I’m working my muscles differently, but it’s still a matter of choreography. It is necessary to learn to move on, to simulate the fights, in particular, to reproduce the precise movements of the martial arts without having twenty years of practice. But the illusion is not enough for me. So I’m being disciplined, I am punctual every morning training, I perfected my technique and my endurance. For The Old GuardI was preparing physically for four hours before starting a day of shooting. Maintain this pace for several years is obviously untenable.
I have an obligation and a motivation as an actress : to work for a better representation of women in cinema
It is a choice to embody, rather, women who never give up in the face of adversity?
They interest me as a priority, those who fight and do not drop the arm. Those who, in extraordinary circumstances, will reveal their potential, experience success, seizing power, as the president of the United States in Seduce me if you can !  or even the queen in Snow white and the huntsman ! We all have a role to play in society. I have an obligation and a motivation as an actress : to work for a better representation of women in cinema. It is necessary to get rid for ever of the clichés, the stereotypes. The binary relations, simplistic, this is not for me. I continue to move forward, to consider things very seriously, and stay consistent from a creative point of view. So, yes, somewhere, I am a warrior!
Are you aware of having become an icon of feminist?
Oh my God, this is nice! I do not see myself as such, but if women think, I am happy to serve as a guide. I encourage them to impose their truth, to rebel against the patriarchy and to never give up. If I can push them one way or another, it suits me.
It is also your mission as a producer?
Yes. I am an advocate for equality, inclusion and diversity in front of and behind the camera. In The Old Guardfor example , the boss is a woman, who has under his orders a gay couple and a young African-American. My production company wants to be part of the solution, not continue to feed the problem. It takes a lot of work to develop ethical project that go in this direction, in line with our time. Making films is a liability. It is necessary to put the money in a just cause, that is worth the effort.
I dream of working with Céline Sciamma
It is true that you have seen four times Portrait of the girl on fire (2019), by Céline Sciamma?
Yes! This film I was deeply moved. It is by far one of my favorites of the last decade. I was staggered by the power of the love story, through the eyes sensitivity of the filmmaker on his actresses, in this level of understanding of the status of women, by the beauty of the staging. I was captivated! My vocation as a producer has been strengthened, I want to register in the same way. This must become the norm… it is now nearly five years that I have been trying to set an appointment with Céline Sciamma! I loved his previous feature film, Girls strip . One crossed at the beginning of the year, on the occasion of nights of award ceremonies in the United States. And then the health crisis is upon them. I dream of working with it.
For the Césars, she and Adèle Haenel have left the room in protest against the price of the best director for Roman Polanski. Such an action would be possible in Hollywood?
Of course, everything is possible. Of course! I understand and valid for the whole of this gesture.