Charlize Theron revealed to Harper’s Bazaar a “belittling” experience from her early days as an actor, in which an unnamed male director made repeated attempts to have her look more “fuckable” on set. The “Monster” Oscar winner said one of her biggest pet peeves when she was just starting out as a professional actor was men controlling what she wore on screen.
“Having absolutely no control over what you’re wearing is a big one that really fucking annoyed me for years,” Theron said. “Having some guy make you have a fitting almost in front of them—stuff like that, it’s really belittling. When I started, there was no conversation around it. It was like, ‘This is what you’re wearing.’”
Theron continued, “I remember one movie in particular, this male director who just kept bringing me in, fitting after fitting after fitting after … And it was just so obvious that it was to do with my sexuality and how fuckable they could make me in the movie. And when I started out, that was just kind of the norm.”
Fighting back against Hollywood’s urge to sexualize women has been a consistent theme of Theron’s career. She founded her production company, Denver & Delilah, in 2003 after her experience making “Monster” and sensing the film’s financiers wanting “a hot lesbian movie with me and Christina Ricci” instead of the more nuanced vision director Patty Jenkins intended. Theron ensured “Monster” didn’t become what the financiers wanted.
“There’s a natural fight in me to want to create environments [on set] that feel like the things that I wish I had 30 years ago when I started,” Theron said, noting that her Netflix film “The Old Guard” shot with a cast and crew that was 85% women. “I don’t always get it right, but I am very aware of looking at the big picture and saying, ‘Is this really the best we can do?’”
Theron will star in “The Old Guard 2” for Netflix, and she’s got the Netflix fantasy movie “The School of Good and Evil” streaming Oct. 21.