During her Comic-Con@Home appearance Friday, Charlize Theron reflected on the evolution of the modern female action star.”The good news now is that we’ve changed the genre for women,” she said. “We now know you we can’t hide behind ignorance anymore. Audiences love these films. They love how were now telling these narratives with women at the core,”
Talking about her first action role in 2003’s The Italian Job, Theron talked about the “misconception around women” and “unfair process” she experienced.
“The Italian Job was a great experience in the sense that I realized there was still so much misconception around women in the genre,” she said. “There was a very unfair process that went with that. I was the only woman with a bunch of guys, and I remember vividly getting the schedule in our pre-production and they had scheduled me for six weeks more hard training than any of the guys. It was just so insulting. But it was also a thing that put a real fire under my ass.”
She continued: “I made it a point to out-drive all those guys. I vividly remember Mark Wahlberg halfway through one of our training sessions, pulling over and throwing up because he was so nauseous from doing 360s.”
Theron has been outdoing many of her male counterparts ever since in movies such as Aeon Flux, Hancock, Mad Max: Fury Road, Atomic Blonde and now The Old Guard, which hit Netflix this month. But for Theron, it goes beyond the high-stakes action sequences when deciding what roles to take on. It’s about representing women in a complexity that has so long been overlooked.
“I’m intrigued by the messiness of being a human, especially a woman,” she said. “For me, when we talk about representation, not just racial presentation and culture represent, but female representation, I remember vividly the lack of watching conflicted women in cinema. There was an arid fear of putting a woman in circumstances where she might not shine.
“We can be many things and our strength comes from our faults and our mistakes,” she added. “I am not a hero. I don’t relate to heroes. The people who inspire me are people who don’t think of themselves as heroes.”
With F9 and Atomic Blonde 2 forthcoming, as well as a highly possible Old Guard sequel, Theron isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. But even with two decades of portraying female action hero, she admitted that she still gets nervous when approaching these projects.
“The essence that I put forth that there might be no fear is completely motivated by fear,” she said. “I just cover it up but the truth is everything actually scares me. I don’t know really how to create not from a place of fear.
“The idea of going into a project and not being scared would actually freak me out,” she added. I”t would feel really wrong, My creativity really thrives around my fear.. it is this thing that makes me not stop.”
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