Charlize Theron is easily Hollywood’s most glamorous actress and is even more beautiful in person, showing up to our interview wearing a black shirt and black skinny pants with matching high heels.
In New York to promote her movie, Young Adult, she plays the kind of woman you wouldn’t want to let near your husband. Here, she shares her candid sense of humor about this unlikeable role.
Your character is kicking and screaming into her late 30s – how does that compare to your late 30s? How do you approach it?
I don’t know. I don’t have any problem with it. I think we can all relate to not feeling great about where we are but I loved my 30s. I’ve loved this time, I really, really have, way more than my 20s. I haven’t been kicking and screaming towards an older age. Yet!
This woman you play has everything – beauty, a great job – but inside she’s damaged. That combination isn’t rare in Hollywood. How do you find that?
I wouldn’t have been a part of this film if I didn’t think women would relate to this idea and I think most women will relate to that. I think there’s also something to be said about how society makes you feel when you’re in your late 30s.
That time is running out and you have to get the engine to work and kick it into gear and catch up somehow. So I do think that women relate to that, not just in Hollywood, but everywhere.
You’re one of the most revered style icons in the world. How was it to wear track pants and have bad hair days throughout most of the film?
Now that I can relate to a lot. That is where my character Mavis and I are exactly the same, because I think all women are mechanically set up in a way. We’re born knowing how to put the war paint on and put the dress on and do that thing. And then we’re just a mess when we’re not that way. The idea that we can look that way all the time is just not truth at all.
Even for Charlize Theron?
"I’ve never been one to go back into the past, which is not necessarily something to brag about. I kind of really play things out until they’re done, and when they’re done, I’m done."
The movie addresses the subject of moving forward or not. When her marriage ends she returns to her past instead of looking to the future. Do you relate to that? Are you someone who looks back or moves forward easily?
I’m very, very different. I’ve never been one to go back into the past, which is not necessarily something to brag about. I kind of really play things out until they’re done, and when they’re done, I’m done.
I read that you have not been single since you were 19 years old.
And now I am. Yeah. I’m single now. I’m enjoying it. I’ve been very comfortable in relationships and I’m such a monogamous beast. I feel really in my zone when I’m in a relationship. It’s good to be in my zone, but not in a relationship. I think this is how my path was supposed to unfold. I’m good. Things are good.
Most of us think about revisiting old boyfriends but we rarely do. What do you think about that? Have you ever been tempted to do it?
No, no. Like I said, it’s maybe not a great thing but when I’m done, I’m really done. I just can’t go back there again and I’ve never done that.
You’re working a lot more these days – is it more fun?
Yes, and this was a great film to come back with and next I’m doing Prometheus with Ridley Scott and then Snow White as the evil queen.
You’ve said that you need to be an actor because you don’t go to therapy.
Oh, I’m in therapy now. Yeah. I have since learned that I need to be in therapy.
Did that mean that you play out some of your problems in every character you choose?
I think this kind of work is very cathartic. There’s something really nice when you break it down and you understand how unbelievably lucky you are to go and do this job every day.
Do you think the fact you didn’t grow up in America has given you an advantage in Hollywood?
Yes. South Africa is the best! I don’t know if it’s an advantage. I always say poor kids never know that they are poor. They don’t know anything different. I don’t think I would know what it would be like any if it was any different so I can’t really know the difference. I know that for sure I think we all know that where you come from builds your character and makes you who you are and makes you see things in a certain way. I’m sure that came into play. I don’t know if it’s an advantage. I know that my accent wasn’t. I have to lose my accent in order to do American accents and things like that.
You seem to be written about lately as this strong woman who drinks tequila and swears and doesn’t give a care in the world. I thought you couldn’t do that and look the way you do.
Yeah, you can. I’m here to tell you, you can. I feel that people love to write about that stuff because it sells and it’s so shocking and I’m not. I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t swear that much. Do I? Just because I fall doesn’t mean I’m drunk! I learned that this is not a dress rehearsal and you have got to live life the way you want to. I don’t want to be 80 on my deathbed and go, “God, I wish I lived my life.” I am just living my life. I don’t think there is a rulebook, right? I feel so blessed that I get to do a job that I love and that people actually pay me for that. It’s just I don’t know how the hell that happened. I live a really good life. I come from a place where it’s very evident in how fortunate I have been.
Apart from your mum, who else has inspired you?
I’m easy to be inspired. I take inspiration from a lot of stuff. I just went to go and see an exhibition in London. This was a Swiss artist. She’s a video artist, Pipilotti Rist. She’s just incredibly inspiring. You find inspiration in a ton of stuff constantly, anywhere. I just found great inspiration in Jack Nicholson’s performance in The Shining.
We have seen that you are quite funny right now. I think you are witty as well. How much like this are you on set? Is this something that surprises people?
Oh no, I am still divine. I can walk on water.
Photos: Courtesy of TRUNK ARCHIVE