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

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 4, 2012 at 1:44PM

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).
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Charlize Theron

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"
"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).

This article is related to: Charlize Theron, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Young Adult, Awards, Career Watch, Headliners, Features, Box Office


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.