Career Watch: Charlize Theron Bids for Marquee Stardom with 'Huntsman' & 'Prometheus'

by Sophia Savage
June 4, 2012 1:44 PM
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Charlize Theron is back in the spotlight with "Snow White and The Huntsman" and that's where she'll stay with "Prometheus" opening this week. And in July she starts shooting George Miller sequel “Mad Max: Fury Road” in Namibia (after three years of waiting, "It’s time to skin this cat already," she says). Theron is also shopping a TV series that puts a modern spin on the feuding families of "Hatfields and McCoys," the History Channel's record-breaking mini-series.

"The Devil's Advocate"

Stylish $170-million "Huntsman" did top its lowball projections, but the film is cringe-inducing, and while "Prometheus" is a breathtaking visual feat with some killer performances (from Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender), Theron's is not among them. She's one of our great actresses, a beautiful and sexy Oscar-winning badass who says whatever she wants -- so why settle for sub-par roles?

Theron highlights the balancing act even the top actresses in Hollywood must perform between top notch indie roles and studio tentpoles. She's never dominated the box office on her own, and her best work (including her Oscar) is grittier indie fare. In fact, "Snow White" is Theron's first venture in a big-budget mainstream film in five years. Between "Hancock" and “Snow White,” she starred in four low-budget films that didn't play more than 1,000 theaters.

SIGNATURE LINE: "I'd like to thank…oh, hell, I'd like to thank my own abilities,..I'm gonna look like an asshole; deal with it." - Theron, in her practice Oscar acceptance speech (video below). Here's the other one.

THE START: She began as a ballerina and model in her native South Africa before coming to Los Angeles, where she was cast in her first film, "Children of the Corn III" in 1995 at age 20. The following year she landed "2 Days in the Valley" and Tom Hanks' "That Thing You Do!," followed by a role as Keanu Reeve's wife in "The Devil's Advocate" (1997), as a supermodel in Woody Allen's "Celebrity," and as an ape's co-star in Disney's "Might Joe Young" (1998).

She transitioned from beautiful co-star to leading lady via "The Astronaut's Wife" (1999, with Johnny Depp), "The Cider House Rules" (1999, with Tobey Maquire and Michael Caine), "The Yards" (2000, with Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix) "The Reindeer Games" (2000, with Ben Affleck), "Men of Honor" (2000, with Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr.), "The Legend of Baggar Vance" (2000, with Will Smith and Matt Damon) and "Sweet November" (2001, again with Reeves).

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  • Zoie | June 18, 2012 9:25 PMReply

    "If Angelina Jolie had a blonde counter-part, the closest match would be Theron, but so far only Jolie can successfully carry action films single handedly--partly by cherry-picking the best ones." --- I cannot agree with this statement one bit. While I WILL agree that Jolie can get people in the seats and make the studio money when it comes to action films, she is in NO way in the same acting league as Theron. Theron may not be a big draw when it comes to the box office numbers but she has proven her versatility, range, and innate talent. Jolie, while great in action and decent in drama, could have never pulled off what Theron did in "Monster", "North Country", and especially "Young Adult." Think about it- Jolie's most challenging roles were in Oscar baity films like "A Mighty Heart" and "Changeling" -- neither of which were very good or believable for that matter b/c Jolie just doesn't have the kind of talent that Theron possesses. She was great in "Girl Interrupted" and "Gia" but those are the only 2 dramatic roles in which Jolie has really shone. And anyway, looks wise- Theron all the way.

  • t | June 7, 2012 12:46 AMReply

    She was amazing in Young Adult.

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