Theron | The Beast Within the Beauty
an emily blunt interview
Theron has had one of those Walter Mitty lives so far
been a ballerina, a model and a movie star. Now, she's, again,
starring in a movie, but this time its all about the work. There's
not an evening gown to be seen...
latest soiree on film has no handsome leading men or fast little
cars sharing the screen - it's her and Christina Ricci in a controversial
portrayal of the first documented female serial killer, Aileen
Wournos in Patty Jenkins' Monster.
film takes some literary liberties with the true story behind
the man-killing prostitute but gives Theron a role of a lifetime.
packed on some weight, de-beautified and ripped out a part of
her soul for the piece.
Bravo for showing all beautiful movie stars are not just fluff
and pompanstance. No siree Bob.
So how was it to star and produce a film at the same time?
I loved it! It was actually great. They kind of help each other
out - it's not something new that I'm trying
I mean, I'm
new but I've always been very interested in film making
process and I've been lucky enough to work with film makers in
my past that have been very encouraging to let me hang around.
I get so emotionally vested - that the producer part of me was
How did you come across this script in the first place? It's not
exactly "Charlize" fare.
[laughter] Patty Jenkins she offered it to me. She was relentless
I got the script while still working on the Italian
Job. Nobody told me anything about it. When I read it
- I read it just as a story. I knew nothing about Aileen Wournos.
I didn't know it was based on a real-life person. I loved the
script- I thought it was really well written. Unusual beautiful
it was the kind of thing that after you read so
much matter and you start to get use to this one formula that
gets reused - this was one of the first scripts I didn't really
know what was going to happen page to page. I met with Patty a
few days later and was just blown away by her. She's incredible.
Have you met her yet?
Yes. And yes. Were you concerned with the "ugly" aspect
of the role at all?
Charlize: No. Not really. I mean I tried to transform myself through
characters throughout my career. Nothing as drastic as this obviously,
but I've tried with movies like The Yards and
you try as much as you can. It doesn't become about me anymore.
You know? We can't think of the work in that kind of selfish manner.
I think you have to step away from it. Otherwise don't do it!
Did you ever get comfortable with the character?
I never really got to a place where I thought, "Okay, this
is it. Now I know exactly what to do." The whole process
was a constant discovery for me to search and a
think there was ever a time where I thought, "Okay, now my
work is done." Patty and I kept running into stories and
a constant road of discovery. Her [Wournos'] life, the emotional
aspects of it you could talk about it for hours. Her emotional
journey was one that no matter how bad you think your life is
it doesn't come close to what this woman experienced
The film gets uneasy as she kills and still we see an almost victimized
killer. How hard did you work to protect the victims' stories?
There's only so much you can work with. Otherwise don't make the
movie- I really believe that. The reason why Patty and I always
thought is was important to tell this story is that we live in
a world where people like Aileen
[she thinks on it] there's
a certain amount of propaganda we get fed by the media. The sensationalizing
of the "first time female serial killer" Especially
with her. Every shot you see is of her when she's looking a little
[Charlize makes a "crazy" face] that's the photo they
ran on the 7 o'clock news. The flip side of the coin is those
are the facts - now maybe let's look underneath the rug and ask
the questions the same way. I felt they asked the questions like
that in the film Badlands. That was based on real-life characters
too. Martin Sheen is taking out garbage one day
does he end up going on the journey he does in that movie? I felt
the other side of her story held a lot of empathy. It's hard to
look at those things because she'd done such horrendous things
in her life and I think we see that, I think that we stay true
to the fact that at the same time that she killed innocent people.
And I think that's what people have a problem with. We should
have been a little more sympathetic to that but when you show
that truth it becomes more tough to watch because those are the
things she did. I truly believe otherwise I wouldn't have done
the movie- that in that greater truth of her story, and in watching
that you do get to a place of empathy.
Are you for capitol punishment?
Charlize: I've never been for it. This movie didn't change that.
I've always felt it's never been proven to do anything positive
and when you look at numbers - I think very few people know the
statistics out there of how unsuccessful it is as a from of punishment.
This is pretty emotional stuff - seems grueling. How did you "come
down" from the days and decompress from the character?
Yes it was! While I was shooting the film I had to switch off.
I found a great way of letting go. I don't really watch a lot
of television normally, so, I would watch mindless television.
Like Elimidate. [laughter] It was a whole new discovery for me.
And the whole Michael Jackson thing - those documentaries - where
happening at the time? I watched that. And The Batchelor. Really
mindless television where I could sit on the couch and there was
no thought process! [laughter] I'm covered in blood in the middle
of the woods in my trailer just staring at this little black and
white like [Charlize mimics a glazed over state]. I realized it
was really important for me to do that to recoup myself- for my
own mental stability.
I lllooovvveee Blind Date for the same reason - and it has great
humor graphics added to ridicule the daters. It's comatose viewing!
I'll check that out!
Can you talk a bit about your make-up?
Well, Tony G - who should win every award out there for make up
- had no budget, there's no prosthetics used. She had teeth
made for name- they were sculpted - literally every tooth is sculpted.
Contacts of course. There was liquid latex- it's like a moisturizing
you put on the face and dry with a hairdryer and stretch it out
so it gets really leathery looking. Then she would paint layers
and layers of tattoo colors with a spray gun, airbrush. She'd
get this dimension on the skin. And the only thing she used was
this thick latex on the top of my eyelids to make them a little
heavier. She plucked all my eyebrows then bleached them out -
because Aileen had practically no eyebrows. She would highlight
my nose. The freckles were the airbrush.
So do you feel this role will show Hollywood you're not just a
pretty face; you have the talent behind the mask? I mean that
maybe you'll get more meaty roles?
[laugher] Yeah right! It's a little bit like climbing Mt Everest.
I think in life we want to challenge ourselves. Hopefully after
this I wont have to put my feet back anymore [laughter] You know
when this came along - and I know it sounds like, "Oh right
sure you say this to everyone"- but I really didn't quite
know where we were going to go with what she [Wournos] would look
like physically. So when I said yes, I didn't say, "Well,
that'll be good then people will see me in a different way."
I am getting honest feed back. You do live in a world where it
gets a little bit the old "it's great
That kinda goes right through your head. But to finally have people
come up and go, "I'm gonna tell you straight, I didn't know
you had this in you." It's really nice to know - when you
really feel it's honest feedback.
is great, and I'd agree that I too wouldn't have though Charlize
Theron could pull this out - even having seen The Yards.
Admttedy, I thought of her as a pretty gal that plays the pretty
I was wrong. The subject matter is brutal at times - I mean it
is a leather faced killer she's playing - but her remarkable layered
and emotional performance shows her underlying talent and her
ability like no woman's role in years and this wasn't easy stuff