Back to IndieWire

Paul Verhoven Reveals Charlize Theron Was Turned Down For ‘Showgirls,’ Talks Scrapped Sequel ‘Bimbos’

Paul Verhoven Reveals Charlize Theron Was Turned Down For 'Showgirls,' Talks Scrapped Sequel 'Bimbos'

Twenty years ago, the movie world was a very different place. Young actress Elizabeth Berkley was trying to use her popularity in the sitcom “Saved By The Bell” as a launchpad to a big screen career, while someone named Charlize Theron hadn’t even made feature film yet. However, both of their stars would cross, however briefly, in the audition room for Paul Verhoeven‘s disasterpiece, “Showgirls.” 

“Charlize also auditioned, and I don’t recall her having any problem with the nudity at all. She was good and wanted the part, but basically she was not well known enough at the time and just did not fit the part, so we said no,” the director admits to New York Daily News. And Verhoeven is candid, saying it wouldn’t have made a difference if she had landed the role over Berkley, as he takes full ownership for the heightened (read: campy) tone of the movie.

READ MORE: Paul Verhoeven Talks His “Felliniesque,” Intentionally “Non-Erotic” And Over The Top ‘Showgirls’

“I have full respect for Charlize, but if she had been offered the part then she would probably have been chewed up in the same way they treated Elizabeth. She was very lucky that she did not get the part,” he said. “I wish Charlize congratulations for that because it would have have been a miserable 20 years for her!”

In case you’re wondering, Theron’s first credited role was in the post-“Pulp Fiction” crime flick “2 Days In The Valley,” and before that she appeared far less memorably in “Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest.” Either way, it’s safe to say she dodged a bullet.

Meanwhile, it pays to remember that at the time, big things were expected from “Showgirls.” The duo of Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Esterzhas had collaborated on the wildly successful “Basic Instinct” three years earlier, no naturally, there was some chatter of a “Showgirls” sequel…..before it turned out to be a box office bomb and utter embarrassment. 

“… we had actually been working on the sequel to ‘Showgirls’ which was going to be called ‘Bimbos’ and was going to be ‘Nomi does Hollywood’, but after ‘Showgirls’ was released there was no way anyone was going to give me money for that,” he said. “If we could just make Elizabeth Berkley 20 years younger now I would love to make ‘Bimbos’ today.” 

No word yet if Verhoeven has seen the parody-ish sequel, “Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven,” written, directed and starring Rena Riffel aka Hope from the original movie, but I think he’d get a kick out of it.

This Article is related to: News and tagged , ,