Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Joaquin Phoenix Gets His Stoner Detective Groove On In Trailer For Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ Watch: Joaquin Phoenix Gets His Stoner Detective Groove On In Trailer For Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ David Fincher Will Direct The Entire First Season Of HBO's 'Utopia' In 2015 David Fincher Will Direct The Entire First Season Of HBO's 'Utopia' In 2015 Brad Pitt Says 'Fury' Co-Star Shia LaBeouf Is "One Of The Best Actors I've Ever Seen" Brad Pitt Says 'Fury' Co-Star Shia LaBeouf Is "One Of The Best Actors I've Ever Seen" First Look: Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult In Drake Doremus’ Sci-Fi Film ‘Equals’ First Look: Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult In Drake Doremus’ Sci-Fi Film ‘Equals’ John Cusack Says Hollywood Is A "Whorehouse" That "Eats Young Actors Up And Spits Them Out" John Cusack Says Hollywood Is A "Whorehouse" That "Eats Young Actors Up And Spits Them Out" New Image From 'Inherent Vice,' Paul Thomas Anderson Completely Changed The Ending From Thomas Pynchon's Book New Image From 'Inherent Vice,' Paul Thomas Anderson Completely Changed The Ending From Thomas Pynchon's Book Why 'You're The Worst' Turned Out To Be The Best TV Show Of The Summer Why 'You're The Worst' Turned Out To Be The Best TV Show Of The Summer Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody New Look: Reese Witherspoon And Joaquin Phoenix In Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' New Look: Reese Witherspoon And Joaquin Phoenix In Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Review: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens & More Review: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens & More 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" While You're Waiting For 'Interstellar,' Here's Over 100 Behind-The-Scenes Photos From 'The Dark Knight' Trilogy While You're Waiting For 'Interstellar,' Here's Over 100 Behind-The-Scenes Photos From 'The Dark Knight' Trilogy First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Discuss: Is Charlize Theron Back On The A-List? And Why Did She Ever Fall Off?

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 7, 2012 at 12:57PM

There's one person who's pretty much inescapable in movie theaters at the moment, and that's Charlize Theron. Last weekend, she was the evil queen Ravenna in "Snow White And The Huntsman," and this weekend, she's the biggest name (although not the biggest part) among the ensemble cast of "Prometheus" -- a film that she was originally pegged to play the lead in. And in a few weeks, she'll start filming on the long-gestating "Fury Road," George Miller's return to the "Mad Max" world. Between those three, she's become the queen of the blockbuster world, and with a performance in "Young Adult" that might have been her most widely acclaimed ever, Theron's as big a star as she's ever been.
14
Charlize Theron, comp

There's one person who's pretty much inescapable in movie theaters at the moment, and that's Charlize Theron. Last weekend, she was the evil queen Ravenna in "Snow White and the Huntsman," and this weekend, she's the biggest name (although not the biggest part) among the ensemble cast of "Prometheus" -- a film that she was originally pegged to play the lead in. And in a few weeks, she'll start filming on the long-gestating "Fury Road," George Miller's return to the "Mad Max" world. Between those three, she's become the queen of the blockbuster world, and with a performance in "Young Adult" that might have been her most widely acclaimed ever, Theron's as big a star as she's ever been.

But curiously, it's taken a little time for it to happen. Theron's been a familiar presence on screen for fifteen years now, since breaking through in "2 Days In The Valley" and "The Devil's Advocate," and it's a decade since she won a Best Actress Oscar for "Monster," which looked to make her a megastar. But while there were highpoints over the last few years, there have been more hits than misses. So what happened, then?

"Aeon Flux"
"Aeon Flux"

Well, a lot of it likely comes down to the failure of "Aeon Flux." The adaptation of the MTV animated series was the first major project Theron signed on to after "Monster," and it was a fairly canny move at the time, we suppose. It gave Theron a chance to remind everyone that she wasn't just the character from "Monster" with a cat-suited action role, and the possibility of a new franchise, and one with a female director, no less, in the shape of Karyn Kusama. Unfortunately, the film was a gaudy, poorly scripted mess and a significant box office flop. Rather than accepting that the film was poor, prognosticators decided that Theron (and female-driven actioners in general) wasn't a draw, and it became harder for her to get films financed afterwards, even with a second Oscar nod for "North Country" and a hilarious guest star run in "Arrested Development" in the same year.

It didn't help that her smaller projects didn't quite land either. She practically moved mountains in a fairly thankless role in "Crash" director Paul Haggis' vastly underrated "In The Valley Of Elah." The film was rejected by audiences, as were many of the Iraq-war themed pictures around the same time. She'd earlier co-starred with her then-boyfriend Stuart Townsend in "Head In The Clouds" and would later appear in his directorial debut, "Battle in Seattle," and again, neither received very good reviews or many eyes on them, although they look like "Avatar" next to Bill Maher's "Sleepwalking" or Guillermo Arriaga's "The Burning Plain," both of which barely received much of a theatrical release in 2008 (it's tempting to note that the end of her relationship with Townsend in 2010 seems to coincide with a new hunger to work).

This article is related to: Charlize Theron, Prometheus, Snow White And The Huntsman, Young Adult, Mad Max: Fury Road, Agent 13


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates