by Silvia Bizio
“The conversation about sexual harassment has always been around for as long as I can remember being a woman, which happens to be my whole life!” says Charlize Theron apropos her new film Bombshell which she produced. For her role in the film, she is a Golden Globe nominee for Best Actress – Drama. It’s her sixth Golden Globe nomination: she won one, in 2004 for Monster, for which also won an Academy Award.
South African born Theron, 44, is on a mission against workplace harassment and the abuse both women and men often endure by their bosses for the sake of their employment or career. In Bombshell she portrays former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, one of many Fox women who accused their boss, Roger Ailes of continued harassment, unwanted advances, manipulation, and more or less veiled threats if denied sexual favors. That is what happened to her colleague Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman in the film), who had to abandon her desk at Fox for telling the truth. In Bombshell Ailes is portrayed by John Lithgow, while Margot Robbie plays a character which is a composite of different young women at Fox News. The film tackles the same subject as the Showtime series The Loudest Voice, but it’s more focused on the women’s perspective.
Former model Theron, who made her acting debut in 1996 with the quirky thriller Two Days in The Valley, has been a non-stop working powerhouse. She has tackled sci-fi with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and action with George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (her gun-blazing one-handed Furiosa has set a new standard for unstoppable action heroines with a heart). She followed that effort with Atomic Blonde and The Fate of the Furious.
Theron is a no-nonsense artist and businesswoman, and a bundle of intelligent energy. A single mother of two adopted kids (seven and four years old), she’s also very active and committed to women’s and children’s right as well as against sexual violence especially in Africa where she founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project to fight Aids and help young victims of violence.
“My whole life has been a fight and rising up to challenges,” she says. “That’s why Bombshell is something I cared a lot about. It’s not the first time I worked on a film about sexual harassment. I vividly remember making North Country in 2005, about an actual landmark case that happened in 1989. And people called that film a period film! It says a lot about how we view or used to view harassment as something that had happened in the past. I think it’s a changed conversation now, and it’s because of it that we have movements like Time’s Up and Me Too.”
Theron underwent a notable physical transformation to play Kelly, with long sessions of makeup and prosthetics in order to look just like her. And the voice is spot on. “I had some qualms about playing Megyn Kelly since our political and world views are not exactly the same,” says Theron. “But then I saw a young woman who was fighting for the realization of her dream, becoming a news anchor in a major news organization, and her experience became the clearest example of the difference of perception towards women … And I say: enough with that!”