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Charlize TheronCharlize Theron | The Beast Within the Beauty
an emily blunt interview

 

 

 

Charlize Theron has had one of those Walter Mitty lives so far…she's 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...

Her 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.

The film takes some literary liberties with the true story behind the man-killing prostitute but gives Theron a role of a lifetime.

She 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.

Emily: So how was it to star and produce a film at the same time?

Charlize: 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 natural.

Emily: How did you come across this script in the first place? It's not exactly "Charlize" fare.

Charlize: [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 love story…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?

Emily: 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 …I think 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!

Emily: Did you ever get comfortable with the character?

Charlize: 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 …I don't 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

Emily: 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?

Charlize: 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…then how 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.

Emily: 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.

Emily: This is pretty emotional stuff - seems grueling. How did you "come down" from the days and decompress from the character?

Charlize: 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.

Emily: I lllooovvveee Blind Date for the same reason - and it has great humor graphics added to ridicule the daters. It's comatose viewing! [laughter]

Charlize: I'll check that out!

Monster make-upEmily: Can you talk a bit about your make-up?

Charlize: 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.

Emily: 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?

Charlize: [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…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.

END

It 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 gal.

But 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 folks.



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