Charlize Theron Gets Candid About ‘Belittling’ Experiences When She Was Coming Up As A Woman In Hollywood

Charlize Theron in fight mode in 2020's The Old Guard
(Image credit: Netflix)

Charlize Theron has played a variety of empowering roles throughout her career in notable film, such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Atomic Blonde and The Old Guard, to name a few. However, unfortunately, being a Hollywood actress has not always been a comfortable experience for Theron, as so many women in the business are sharing more and more. Recently, the actress shared details about her “belittling” experiences making movies years ago. 

Charlize Theron has been on the scene for over 25 years and has seen the landscape change over tim. The actress was ahead of the curve too, considering she started her production company to make Patty Jenkins’ 2003 movie Monster, which she would later win her Oscar for. Here’s what Theron disclosed in her Harper’s Bazaar cover story regarding the lack of power she felt early on: 

Having absolutely no control over what you’re wearing is a big one that really fucking annoyed me for years. 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.’ And 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.

The actress once felt a sense of powerlessness as an actor in Hollywood and was taken advantage of by male peers and superiors who treated her more as an object than a person. However, Charlize Theron also said during the interview that she’s always been one to speak up. In her words: 

The majority of my 20s and my 30s, and just the way I was raised, was very much … it was a time where you had to be a loud bitch to just find some space in the room. I don’t necessarily really like being that person, but there was definitely a time in my life where that was the only way I knew how to function.

Now 47, Charlize Theron said that she recognizes now that she doesn’t get to “scream whatever the fuck” she wants, especially now that she’s realized that it can be more effective to “find empathy” rather than to simply pick a fight. Theron has frequently produced her own films in recent years, including 2020’s The Old Guard, which had a cast and crew that was predominantly women (85 percent). 

Currently, the act star is filming The Old Guard sequel, which kickstarted production in June and will include Uma Thurman as a new addition to the cast. Along with the blockbuster franchise, she will also be part of the tenth Fast and the Furious movie, Fast X, perhaps playing her villainous character Cipher alongside Jason Momoa’s new character. Both are upcoming 2023 movies we’re especially looking forward to see the actress in. 

Additionally, Charlize Theron recently low-key joined the MCU with a cameo as Clea in the post-credits scene of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Although, the actress perhaps missed out on an exciting return to the Mad Max franchise as Furiosa, with George Miller’s decision to cast Anya Taylor-Joy as a younger version of her badass character for the upcoming prequel to Fury Road which had deep. Said spinoff film had been conceived by director George Miller on the set of the 2015 film

Although Charlize Theron’s stories about her past in Hollywood paint a distressing picture of the industry, the actress looks to be helping leave it better than when she first joined. That way, things could improve for the new generation of female movie stars. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.