All by my­self

The not- so- sub­tle scent of des­per­a­tion is one you would cer­tainly not ex­pect Char­l­ize Theron to be wear­ing, writes Lisa Marks

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

CHAR­L­IZE Theron is quite un­like any other ac­tress you’ll ever meet.

She ticks all the re­quired movi­es­tar boxes – beau­ti­ful, tal­ented and con­fi­dent – but she’s some­thing else that you don’t of­ten find in an A- lis­ter. She’s real.

She curses, makes self­dep­re­cat­ing com­ments and doesn’t seem to care about what you think of her or, re­mark­ably, what she’s wear­ing.

Re­lax­ing in a cosy suite at the Ritz Carl­ton on a chilly evening in New York, she laughs when I ask her about her out­fit.

‘‘ I don’t know what I’m wear­ing. Hon­estly, I just threw it on.’’ she says, adding help­fully. ‘‘ Black jeans and a black shirt?’’

In a world where every­thing and ev­ery­one is branded, it’s un­usual for an ac­tress to not care­fully co- or­di­nate a de­signer la­bel out­fit be­fore meet­ing the press. But she’s the same with make- up, pre­fer­ring to do her own on movie sets.

‘‘ You can sit there for two hours and look ex­actly the same at the end,’’ she says. ‘‘ It’s a waste of time.’’

Her feisty at­ti­tude makes her a per­fect fit for her role as Mavis Gary in Ja­son Reit­man’s new movie, Young Adult, his first since Up In The Air in 2009.

Mavis, a re­cently di­vorced young- adult fic­tion writer, heads back to her small home town to rekin­dle a ro­mance with her high school sweet­heart, de­spite the fact he’s mar­ried with chil­dren.

But she spends most of her time with the nerdy guy from school, played bril­liantly by Pat­ton Oswalt, best known as the long- suf­fer­ing Neil in TV’S United States of Tara.

The script is by Di­ablo Cody, who won an Os­car for Juno, and is un­com­pro­mis­ingly funny while ex­plor­ing the darker side of hu­man na­ture.

‘‘ I’d like to hang out with Mavis, but I wouldn’t want my boyfriend to hang out with her,’’ Theron says. ‘‘ You find new ways to cringe watch­ing this movie.’’

Even though Theron ( pic­tured) found her raw per­for­mance hard to watch, she’s grown pro­tec­tive of the bul­ly­ing and in­ap­pro­pri­ate Mavis.

‘‘ I was highly em­bar­rassed when I first watched it. The first time I saw it, I was in my house with my pro­duc­ing part­ner. We sat at ei­ther end of the sofa and af­ter­wards I couldn’t speak. Ja­son called me and I was speech­less, be­cause the movie I was told we were go­ing to make was the movie we had made and that rarely hap­pens. But Mavis her­self is harder to watch than to play.’’

South- African born Theron, how­ever, is quick to point out that Mavis’s sin­gle sta­tus is the rea­son for her bad be­hav­iour.

‘‘ She’s in a spin­ster panic. She’s deal­ing with a lot of is­sues that women in their late 30s are deal­ing with,’’ she says.

‘‘ But she’s deal­ing with them with the toolset of a 16- year- old. This is not the ro­man­tic Peter Pan story, it’s a cau­tion­ary tale say­ing that if you don’t deal with things in a cer­tain way, they will come back and bite you in the arse.’’

Like Mavis, Theron, now 37, is fa­mously sin­gle af­ter break­ing up two years ago with her ac­tor boyfriend of 10 years, Stu­art Townsend.

‘‘ I’m sin­gle and I’m en­joy­ing it,’’ she says, when I ten­ta­tively bring up her re­la­tion­ship sta­tus.

‘‘ I’m very com­fort­able in a re­la­tion­ship be­cause I’m such a monog­a­mous beast.

‘‘ It’s true, I feel in my zone in a re­la­tion­ship. But now it’s good to be in my zone and not in a re­la­tion­ship. I think this is how my path is sup­posed to un­fold.’’

Does she ever tire of hav­ing to ex­plain her­self or her per­sonal life?

‘‘ To be hon­est, if I never had to do an­other in­ter­view I’d be very happy,’’ she says.

‘‘ There are some things I don’t want to talk about and there are things I am fine to talk about. But I don’t feel like I have to de­fend any­thing.’’

Her films have grossed more than $ 800 mil­lion world­wide. But since her best ac­tress Os­car win for Mon­ster in 2003, where she played se­rial killer Aileen Wournos, she’s made some lessthan- ob­vi­ous film choices, star­ring in Aeon Flux, The Val­ley of

Elah and Han­cock. Does she ever feel the pres­sure of car­ry­ing a movie such as Young

Adult, which fea­tures her in al­most ev­ery frame?

‘‘ I can’t think about it that way be­cause I wouldn’t get out of bed,’’ she laughs, be­fore adding mod­estly.

‘‘ My ca­reer has been re­ally nice in the sense that I haven’t been in mas­sive movies, so I’ve never had that pres­sure on me. Fi­nanciers know what they’re go­ing to get with me, so when they agree to back a movie it’s a re­lief in that sense. I’m not in movies that make gazil­lions. I’m not Will Smith.’’

That’s prob­a­bly just as well, be­cause he would have dif­fi­culty act­ing a scene that re­quired him to be al­most naked with two chicken fil­lets ( de­signed to help en­hance a wo­man’s bust) stuck to his chest.

That’s what Theron does in one of Young Adult ’ s fun­ni­est scenes. This un­ortho­dox se­duc­tion bril­liantly show­cases Theron’s comedic and dra­matic range but also re­veals one of the beauty tricks that women em­ploy to lure a man. How does she feel about giv­ing away se­crets of the sis­ter­hood?

‘‘ I feel like that ma­gi­cian who went on tele­vi­sion a few years ago and told ev­ery­one how magic worked,’’ she says.

‘‘ It’s smoke and mir­rors. I was in a 10- year re­la­tion­ship and when you’re in a re­la­tion­ship that long, they know every­thing about you.

‘‘ I re­mem­ber one day my ex walked up to me as I was lay­ing in bed af­ter the Golden Globes.

‘‘ I hadn’t washed my face and my mas­cara was down to here, half of my hair­piece was still on my head and the other half was on the bed­side ta­ble.

‘‘ My chicken cut­lets were there and the $ 2 mil­lion worth of di­a­monds I’d been wear­ing were next to that.

‘‘ He brought me cof­fee and said ‘ God if only they knew!’ and I re­ally laughed be­cause I thought, ‘ Yeah, you’re right. It’s all a fa­cade’.’’

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