With several Oscar nominations in the bag on Monday, Bombshell has its place in Academy history—something that lead actress and co-producer Charlize Theron told Deadline “really means something,” especially given that the issues the film covers are “part of our cultural conversation.”
Bombshell‘s timely exposé of Roger Ailes’ sexual misconduct at Fox News has brought an acting nomination not only for Theron, who is also a co-producer, in the role of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, but also for Margot Robbie in the Supporting category and for Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker for makeup and hairstyling.
Interestingly, Kelly herself posted a 30-minute video to Instagram just a few days ago, detailing her reaction to the film and to Theron’s portrayal of her. Tearing up in the clip, Kelly reflected, “I do wish I had done more, even though I was powerless… what if I had thrown myself on the fire back then?”
Watching Kelly’s video, Theron felt “incredibly emotional,” she said. “I felt that that was an incredibly sincere moment from Megyn. It hit me really deep. I felt something really real in her saying that.”
For Theron, seeing Kelly ask herself that was particularly difficult because, “We [as women] shouldn’t even be in that situation in the first place. We want more than that. We want a world where that’s not even asked. Where we are not even in that situation where we have to choose what we’re going to do in the first place. And I just don’t think that is too much to ask. I think that is a human right that we should all have. We should be able to go to work and live in a world where we’re not threatened, we’re not power-played and we’re not sexually harassed. We’re not sexually assaulted just in order to provide for our families or for ourselves.”
Former Fox News employee Julie Zann is also seen crying in Kelly’s Instagram video, as she watches Bombshell alongside Kelly and other former Fox employees Juliet Huddy and Rudi Bakhtiar. Theron said pre-shoot discussions with survivors of Ailes’ abuse had profoundly affected her. “Their stories hit me so deeply,” she said, “very much like Julie, and Rudi and Juliet, all of those women, and so many more, they all share something that is so visceral, and still so real, and the idea of having to revisit something that’s been—I think for Rudi, it’s been 13 years—I bet that’s not something that you want to jump at. I know that that must be really hard for them.”
Theron hopes the film has the power to make real change and to support the women who went through that experience. “I do think that there’s something cathartic in it,” she said. “But the thing I’m most grateful to them for, is the fact that they understand the weight of their stories, they understand what their stories could mean for changing this and also for other women. To do what they need to do in order to heal and to try and stop this.”