Blon­des have more fights

Don’t mess with Char­l­ize Theron. This Os­car-win­ning ac­tress can kick your butt!

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz -

CHAR­L­IZE Theron had to over­come two big ob­sta­cles, a gut­tural Afrikaaner ac­cent and her South African Apartheid iden­tity to make it in Hol­ly­wood.

And she did it all on her own. Some­thing I can vouch for be­cause I was there at her cre­ation.

Twenty years ago when she was a to­tal un­known – hav­ing done only one film, 2 Days In The Val­ley – be­cause we were both from South Africa, I was asked by her pub­li­cist to in­ter­view her for the pur­pose of cre­at­ing her bio.

Soon there­after she be­came one of Hol­ly­wood’s most sought-af­ter young ac­tresses, hand­picked by Woody Allen to ap­pear in

Celebrity, and shar­ing the screen with the likes of Al Pa­cino and Keanu Reeves in The Devil’s Ad­vo­cate.

Her first star­ring role in Mighty Joe Young prompted a Los An­ge­les Times critic to call her, “the most gor­geous woman work­ing in film”.

Af­ter that she played op­po­site Johnny Depp in The As­tro­naut’s Wife, pro­vided the love in­ter­est for Ben Af­fleck in

Rein­deer Games, Matt Da­mon in Robert Red­ford’s The Leg­end Of Bag­ger Vance and Mark Wahlberg in The Yards.

And Theron was the fe­male lead in Lasse Hall­strom’s The Cider House Rules, which ended up be­ing nom­i­nated for eight Os­cars.

But then her ca­reer went into a slump.

A Billy Bob Thorn­ton movie went straight to video; she was passed over for roles she helped de­velop which were then of­fered to Reese Wither­spoon (Sweet Home Alabama) and Cather­ine Zeta-Jones

(Chicago).

She be­gan ac­cept­ing medi­ocre roles in medi­ocre films

(Sweet Novem­ber, Trapped) fi­nally hit­ting pay dirt with

TheI­tal­ianJob– again op­po­site Wahlberg – which be­came a sur­prise hit.

Be­fore its re­lease, she was all pre­pared to play sup­port­ing roles in nu­mer­ous projects, when out of the blue she was of­fered the role of Aileen Wuornos, a no­to­ri­ous se­rial killer who was ex­e­cuted in Florida af­ter a num­ber of highly pub­li­cised ap­peals.

The movie was a low bud­get in­de­pen­dent film with no stu­dio at­tached. The di­rec­tor, Patty Jenk­ins, had never made a film be­fore. Fi­nanc­ing was hard to come by, so Theron stepped in as co-pro­ducer.

The film Mon­ster opened qui­etly and overnight trans­formed the ac­tress from a Hol­ly­wood has-been into an Academy Award win­ner!

The 41-year-old beauty has fol­lowed that role with award cal­i­bre work in North Coun­try, Young Adult and an­other Os­car nom­i­nee Mad Max: Fury Road.

Theron’s fe­ro­cious work in that paved the way for her to be cast in Atomic Blonde in which she plays a kick-a** femme fatale. But the chap­ter on Theron’s Hol­ly­wood story be­gan when she ar­rived in Los An­ge­les with only US$400 in her pocket.

A chance ar­gushe ment had at a nearby bank, which had re­fused to cash her cheque, was wit­nessed by a Hol­ly­wood agent, John Crosby, who wasso im­pressed with her spunk, he gave her his card!

Did you know who he was?

Not at all, and I knew that in Hol­ly­wood, if you walk on Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard, ev­ery­body wants to make you a star.

But it turned out that he man­aged peo­ple like Rene Russo and John Hurt, so he was le­git­i­mate, and for him to just be a lit­tle bit in­ter­ested in me was just mind bog­gling.

I sat down with him. I ba­si­cally had noth­ing to show him, so I said: “Look, I’ve al­ways had a feel­ing that this was the one thing in my life that I could be good at and happy at the same time.” And he said: “Well, let’s give it a shot.”

He in­tro­duced me to an agency, and I went to my first read­ing, which was for a Paul Ver­ho­even movie. Later Paul put in a good word for me, which was very nice. When I look back at all th­ese things, meet­ing th­ese peo­ple, be­ing at the right place at the right time, luck had a lot to do with it.

You left South Africa when Nel­son Man­dela was still in prison. How old were you at the time?

I was 15. I lived all over Europe for two years and I stayed about a year in New York, then lived in Mi­ami, be­fore com­ing to LA just be­fore my 20th birth­day.

What was your rea­son for leav­ing?

I was study­ing bal­let at what was then the only Afrikaans art school in South Africa.

I had been do­ing it for about 12 years, very much in love with what I was do­ing, but al­ways aware that this was not what I wanted to do.

Ever since I was five years old, when­ever I watched movies I thought, “I can do that so much bet­ter. God, that’s me. That’s my life story right there.”

I also knew that if I was go­ing to do it, I would have to do it the right way, and Hol­ly­wood was the only way.

Wasn’t your mother wor­ried that some­thing bad could hap­pen to you?

My mother hap­pens to be my best friend. I mean, she is my men­tor and my hero.

She taught me to be de­ter­mined and to stick with what I wanted to do.

It’s a tough de­ci­sion, but you must re­mem­ber my fa­ther died three months be­fore I left South Africa.

I had be­come a lit­tle re­bel­lious. My mum had no choice but to let me go. She just said, “Here’s some money to get you off your feet. Go and chase your dreams, but just know that I will not sup­port you.”

Wasn’t that rather cal­lous?

No it wasn’t. She al­ways knew that I had big­ger dreams than nor­mal chil­dren, and if she didn’t let me go, I would bring the house down, so it was never re­ally an is­sue. She has al­ways been be­hind me and proud of me.

You lost a tooth while film­ing

How phys­i­cal are you will­ing to go for a role?

Blonde. Atomic

I had some den­tal is­sues when we started train­ing, but the real chal­lenge was when a di­rec­tor’s de­sire to shoot con­tin­u­ously for eight to nine sec­onds at a time, which in the ac­tion world is un­heard of. You’re usu­ally shoot­ing less than two-and-a-half sec­onds be­cause you’re cut­ting it, and a lot of ac­tion hap­pens in the edit­ing room.

Even Mad Max was like that. So know­ing that you can’t use a dou­ble, I would say 98% of it was me do­ing it. There were things that I would have been open to be­cause I felt in­cred­i­bly safe with the crew, but in­sur­ance wise they didn’t make sense. Jump­ing out of a build­ing with a fire hose is one of them.

But I was very, very lucky that I had a great stunt dou­ble who was also one of my train­ers, and be­cause of her I un­der­stood what the fe­male body is ca­pa­ble of do­ing.

Could you take down a guy in real life?

I don’t know. Look, there is a real skill be­hind it. A lot of it is math­e­mat­i­cal so a lot of it is just un­der­stand­ing body weight.

You have to look at size and the en­tirety of your whole body in or­der to do some­thing like that, and that takes a lot of think­ing.

You have your op­po­nent in front of you, and they’re do­ing things that you’d never ex­pect; so in that mo­ment you have to re­alise, “OK, he is 6’ 2”, he is way big­ger than me, so I’m never go­ing to be able to punch him.”

But if you are ag­ile, you can cat­a­pult your own body weight.

Com­mon sense tells you not to do it, but you learn as a fighter that that’s how you get it done.

And you ac­tu­ally did that?

Yeah, I’ve thrown bod­ies over me, and it’s re­ally just un­der­stand­ing that if you drop your en­tire weight, that per­son doesn’t know what’s com­ing.

They’re go­ing to be off bal­ance and then you can just throw them.

It’s a real skill, it’s a real art. Fight­ing is some­thing that I have great re­spect for. I don’t think it gets enough ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

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