Don’t Mess with Charlize Theron, Fierce Beauty, Atomic Blonde, and the Ultimate Hollywood Badass
by Lynn Hirschberg
(La traduction sera réalisée ultérieurement)
The search for the next James Bond is over—Charlize Theron is perfect for the role. Proof positive: In Atomic Blonde, in theaters July 28, Theron displays her suave spy talents as Lorraine Broughton, an undercover MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin in 1989, five days before the Wall falls. As Lorraine, Theron is an exhilarating mix of icy beauty, alluring mystery, in-your-face sexuality, and fierce, fearless fighting skills.
In one epic battle, she takes on a team of brutal bad guys on a staircase, pummeling and decking them one by one while looking stunning in thigh-high boots and a shaggy bob. It is a triumphant female-power moment that is rarely seen in cinema, and Theron owns it completely.
“I didn’t just want to play a girly spy who depends on her flirty ways,” Theron told me at the W photo shoot, which channeled the late-1980s, gritty punk-meets-glam mood of the film. “It would be so boring to just be ‘the girl’ and wait for the guys to come in when there’s a fight. Instead, I thought about Atomic Blonde the way I imagine men think about parts in action films. I was intrigued and challenged.”
The role wasn’t easy. The film’s director, David Leitch, was once the stunt double for Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, and he trained Theron, who has a background in ballet, for three months, four to five hours a day. (Theron, along with her producing partner, Beth Kono, developed the film, which is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City.)
In an interesting twist for an action film, Lorraine bears the marks of her battles. She is scarred and bloodied, and those scars are vital to the power of the movie. Like Bond, she is wounded, emotionally and physically. “I remember it was day two, my body was hurting, and my face was all bruised up, and my eye was swollen shut,” Theron said in an interview with The New York Times. “I remember thinking to myself, Really?”
Lynn Hirschberg: When you developed Atomic Blonde, did you think about James Bond at all?
Charlize Theron: Lorraine is a little bit like Bond. He drinks a lot of martinis, doesn’t he? Shaken or not stirred, or whatever they are. Yeah, Lorraine and James are equally messed up. Maybe they should marry! Maybe they should have a baby! That would be an interesting baby.
Are you a fan of action films?
I really like them. One of my first memories is of watching Die Hard and just loving it. Maybe something’s wrong with me.
In one of your first films, you had a memorable action scene in a catsuit.
Yes! 2 Days in the Valley. Rotten Tomatoes gave it number 17 on the list of 20 Greatest Fight Scenes Ever. The fight was between me and Teri Hatcher. I hit her really bad.
Did you knock out her teeth?
– LIRE TOUTE L’INTERVIEW –
No. But I think she was bruised. And because it was Teri Hatcher, who was a star, and I was this bleached-blonde-Amazonian, catsuit-wearing nobody who was punching her in the face, I was like a wild animal. Back then I didn’t know how to hone in my energy and I was knocking over lights. I had no concept of a set. I connected right with Teri Hatcher’s face. I felt terrible about it. I had no money and sent her some cheap beer the next day. Sorry, Teri.