“People just aren’t willing to see conflict, or ugliness or the more flawed side of life through a female character’s eyes. I mean, can you imagine a woman playing Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver? When Robert De Niro does it, it’s fine, [but] people are very uncomfortable about seeing that through a woman’s eyes. We aren’t allowed complexity.”
Theron evidently sought out darker female roles as the mean girl who never grew up in Young Adult, the evil queen in Snow White and the Huntsman, her Oscar-winning star turn as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, and the compulsively nasty protagonist of the upcoming Gillian Flynn adaptation Dark Places.
And now Theron’s helping a younger woman attain the kind of complicated role she probably wishes she’d had in her twenties. Last week brought news that Theron has optioned Susannah Cahalan’s mental-illness memoir, Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness, as a star vehicle for Dakota Fanning. The book chronicles Cahalan’s terrifying experience of waking up in a hospital with no idea how she got there, being labeled bipolar and schizophrenic, and very slowly receiving the help (and the correct diagnosis) that she needs: that of an extremely rare neurological disorder that rendered Cahalan, then a NY Post reporter in her early twenties, a stranger to herself.
Theron will also produce. The two actresses previously co-starred in the 2002 thriller Trapped. Deadline notes that Theron and Fanning also shared a manager.