| 13°C Dublin

Need for speed Award-winning Fast and Furious star Charlize Theron reveals she was 'driving at age eight'

The upcoming Fast and Furious movie has a powerful female cast with Charlize Theron playing the antagonist Cipher - she talks about the importance of women in the driving seat and being raised on action movies

Close

Charlize Theron Cipher in F9

Charlize Theron Cipher in F9

Charlize Theron Cipher in F9

Blonde bombshell and Academy Award winner Charlize Theron says she just can't resist playing baddies as she gears up for her return to the Fast & Furious franchise in F9, which hits cinemas here this Thursday.

The 45-year-old South African-American star tells Magazine+ that she believes there needs to be better representation for women in certain roles and how she has sought to change and explore this.

As the penultimate installment in the series speeds onto the big screen, she reveals how she's always had a passion for cars - and was behind the wheel from the age of eight.

Close

NEED FOR SPEED: Charlize behind the wheel in F8

NEED FOR SPEED: Charlize behind the wheel in F8

NEED FOR SPEED: Charlize behind the wheel in F8

MAG+: How much fun is it to return to a character like Cipher?

CT: She's a psychopath so, let's just be honest, as a entertainer it's fun to play such an extreme character. Playing crazy psychotic people is always fun but it's usually guys who tend to do it. Not a lot of women get to do it so I feel very grateful to be Cipher again. She's back as psychotic as they come and I had a lot fun with her on this movie.

Close

Theron with a slicker look opposite John Cena in F9

Theron with a slicker look opposite John Cena in F9

Theron with a slicker look opposite John Cena in F9

 

MAG+: How much input do you have into how the character is written?

CT: What I really loved was that Universal started talking to me about the character from the very beginning. The writer, Chris Morgan, spent a lot of time with me. We came up with some great ideas and the whole process was very collaborative. We built this character around what the story needed, how she could service that story and shake it up a little bit. From that, we created this psychopath.

Close

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

 

MAG+ Are you a car fan in real life?

CT: There's a little bit of a car fan inside me, yeah. I was raised by two people who ran a road construction business. My father was an engineer so I grew up on a property where there was constantly cars being bought on auction, engines being changed out to soup them up and things like that.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

At eight years old I could drive, but that was just kind of normal for the area I was raised in. I think that car culture love stayed with me and I definitely have it now.

Close

Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux; in Mad Max: Fury Road

Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux; in Mad Max: Fury Road

Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux; in Mad Max: Fury Road

 

MAG+ What is it that draws you to certain roles?

CT: In general, I'm intrigued by the messiness of being a human, especially a woman. For me, when we talk about representation, [it's] not just racial representation and cultural representation but female representation.

I remember vividly just feeling such a lack of watching conflicted women in cinema.

There was always a part of me as an actor that felt so unbelievably jealous of people like Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro, who got to play all of these really f***ed up people. Women very rarely got to explore that. There was this arid fear of putting a woman in circumstances where she might not shine.

It's like we can either be really good hookers or we can be really good mothers but, with anything in between, people are sometimes not brave enough to want to go and explore.

It's so sad to me because the richness of those stories are not only greatly entertaining stories to tell, great movies to make, but it's a disservice to women in general.

We are more complicated than those two things. We can be many things. Our strengths can come from our faults and from our mistakes, our pity, our vulnerabilities and our madness. Those are the things that make us interesting.

Close

Aeon Flux in Mad Max: Fury Road

Aeon Flux in Mad Max: Fury Road

Aeon Flux in Mad Max: Fury Road

 

MAG+ What is it about action movies that you find interesting?

CT: I don't remember waking up one day and I saying, 'Do you know what I would like to do? Action movies.' I always just wanted to explore the genre but it took a while to get the opportunity. I was raised with a mother who loved Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson movies. My dad loved the Mad Max films so I was raised on action films.

The majority of the movies that we watched were those kinds of movies although it was peppered with a little bit of Sophie's Choice and Kramer vs Kramer at super-inappropriate ages like eight, nine and 10.

I think that sums up where my career went. I always had an affinity for all genres but, unfortunately, 30 years ago there just wasn't a lot of opportunity for women to do movies like this.

Close

HAIR WE GO AGAIN: Charlize with her dreads alongside Vin Diesel in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious

HAIR WE GO AGAIN: Charlize with her dreads alongside Vin Diesel in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious

HAIR WE GO AGAIN: Charlize with her dreads alongside Vin Diesel in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious

 

MAG+ When did that change for you?

CT: After I won my Academy Award in 2004 I did Aeon Flux. It was really hard even then because there were so many preconceived ideas that everybody wanted to squeeze you into. It was a character that I think today would be celebrated, cinematically, way more than it was back then. I remember the film didn't play as well as everybody thought.

That was a moment in my career where I realised that, because that movie didn't really perform, I might not be given another opportunity. It was like, 'No. Women can't make these movies successful.' It was harsh.

Close

Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend

Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend

Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend

 

MAG+ When did you realise that wasn't the case and there was a future for you in this genre?

CT: It wasn't until Mad Max: Fury Road came my way. That film really changed the trajectory for me. It made me realise that you just have to find the right people who are wiling to take the risk and want to explore these stories with women. That's when I made an active choice to look out for those filmmakers, to look out for that kind of material and to try and develop it myself as a producer. And that's where I find myself today but I really like playing in all of the different genres. I don't think of myself as having a particular affinity for just one.

Close

Vin Diesel and Helen Mirren in F9

Vin Diesel and Helen Mirren in F9

Vin Diesel and Helen Mirren in F9

MAG+ Were there any on set pranks while making this movie?

CT: No, are you kidding? I'm an Oscar winner so I take the work really seriously. Believe that if you will!

MAG+: How are you managing to balance your career with raising two children?

CT: Knock on wood, it's been really good - very balanced. I feel very fulfilled. I am a very lucky person."

MAG+: Finally, how exciting does the future look for the female-led action genre?

CT: There's evidence that we know that we can't hide behind ignorance anymore. Audiences love these films and they love how we are now telling these narratives with women at the core. It feels fresh to explore the world of action with women fighting. All of that stuff really excites me.

⬤ F9 is released on June 24

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Related Content






Top Videos





Privacy