Action hero, bad girl, monster:
the many faces of Charlize Theron
In her latest film, Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, a top-level spy for MI6 who is dispatched to Berlin in 1989 on the eve of the collapse of the Wall to take down a ruthless espionage ring.
Directed by David Leitch (John Wick), we can expect non-stop action from a foul-mouthed “killer queen”, if the trailer’s anything to go by.
Atomic Blonde isn’t the only action film featuring the now 41-year-old Theron this summer.
She’ll also star in the eighth part of the Fast and Furious franchise, playing a seductive villain called Cipher who threatens to drive a wedge between the gang and take some of them to the dark side.
Theron has starred in a number of other action films, including the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, which saw her play safe and vault “technician” Stella Bridger and get behind the wheels of a red Mini Cooper. She also played the mysterious title character in 2005’s Æon Flux, and wowed critics in 2015 as Imperator Furiosa in the post-apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road.
Although she’s famous for playing a number of tough baddies, Theron was honoured for her humanitarian work back in 2008, when she was named a UN Messenger of Peace. She was once nicknamed the “White Hot Venus” by Vanity Fair when she appeared on the magazine’s cover in 1999, in recognition of her beauty.
Her finest hour was back in 2004, when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. For this role, Theron looked unrecognisable as she piled on the pounds, gaining over two stone in weight, shaved her eyebrows and wore prosthetic teeth. Film critic Roger Ebert hailed Theron’s take on Wuornos as “one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema.” She was nominated again in 2006 for playing Josey Aimes in North Country, but lost out to Reese Witherspoon.
She’s also a dab hand when it comes to comedic roles, starring in Jason Reitman’s 2011 comedy-drama Young Adult as a divorced, alcoholic 37-year-old ghost writer of a series of young adult novels.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane noticed this, and cast Theron in his 2014 spoof western A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Even when she takes more of a back seat her screen presence looms large. She played the sinister Queen Ravenna in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, and was imperious as the Weyland Corporation mission leader in Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus (2013).
Thanks to her versatility, Theron has made it to the top tier of Hollywood’s A-list.
Some of her performances were in films as varied as The Devil’s Advocate (1998), Mighty Joe Young (1999) and The Cider House Rules (2000).
Cinema-goers can look forward to another barnstorming Charlize Theron performance when Atomic Blonde hits screens this summer.