Charlize Theron is a woman who kicks ass, onscreen and off. Not only does the South-African-American actress portray awesome action stars like Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Lorraine in the upcoming “Atomic Blonde,” but she’s out there producing movies with female leads and advocating for more women in all aspects of the film industry.
“I always say to studios, ‘Make more female-driven movies — not just actors, but producers, directors, writers.’ And they always say, ‘We would if they go see them.’ So go see them. We need you guys to support us,” Theron said. “We need you guys to make it clear we’re just as good as the guys.”
“Plus, we have boobs. They don’t have boobs.”
Speaking during Entertainment Weekly’s “Women Who Kick Ass” panel at Comic-Con Saturday afternoon, Theron discussed her new film, including a sex scene that subverts genre expectations, rumors she could be the next James Bond, a possible “Mad Max” sequel, and more.
Below are the highlights from the panel. While we couldn’t include all of Theron’s progressive, empowering comments — no one can type fast enough to keep up — please imagine each statement below begins and ends with a statement as inclusive, invigorating, and funny as the above quotation.
Charlize Bond? “I’m Fine With Leaving That to Daniel or Idris”
In a recent interview, Chris Hemsworth said he thought Charlize Theron would make the perfect James Bond. “Why not? It’s time,” the “Thor” star told W Magazine.
While Theron said she’s “all for” a woman taking over the Bond title, she’s also fine doing exactly what she’s doing.
“I think of this character [in ‘Atomic Blonde’] as something that could hopefully live and breathe in the same kind of format,” Theron said. “We could actually make a couple of more movies. I’m fine with leaving that over to Daniel [Craig] or Idris [Elba], and I’ll do Lorraine.”
For the record, when she mentioned Elba’s name, the crowd let out a roar of approval.
“Mad Max: Furiosa Road”: “Whatever It Is, I’ll Do It”
Moderator Sara Vilkomerson of Entertainment Weekly made sure to bring up more than just “Atomic Blonde” during the panel and even showed an extended clip from “Mad Max: Fury Road.” After it ended, Theron was asked what needed to happen to get a sequel off the ground.
“Whatever it is, I’ll do it,” Theron said. “I love playing that character. I love that George [Miller] allowed me to play that character. Not for a day did he fight me on that character.”
But it’s up to Miller if and when Furiosa will return, with one caveat:
“If he’s not ready, he’s not ready,” Theron said. “I’ll be waiting, George. But I’ll be 42 in August, so let’s get going.”
“It’s Great I Hooked Up With a Girl. I’m Proud of That”
Earlier in the panel, Vilkomerson also brought up a sex scene in “Atomic Blonde” that has been getting a lot of buzz online. Theron’s character, Lorraine, hooks up with Sofia Boutella’s Delphine. But the same-sex coupling wasn’t a ploy to woo male viewers, but instead an empowering moment for Lorraine and a necessary plot point for the film.
“Even though we wanted to make provocative choices with this film — this is not your grandfather’s spy film — we really tried to take the genre and turn it on its head,” Theron said. “That community is not represented the way they should be in film.”
“It’s great I hooked up with a girl. I’m proud of that,” she said. “The story gets furthered through that relationship more than it would have with a man. […] The one time she struggles with her humanity is in that scene. I’m glad it was with a woman. I’m glad she didn’t have to examine her brokenness with a man.”
Now is the Time for Women Warriors
To kick off the panel, Theron discussed how she found “Atomic Blonde,” noting how she hoped the right project would just fall into her lap, but she decided to pursue it through her production company once she hit 40.
What excited her about “Atomic Blonde,” which was an unpublished graphic novel at the time, was how Lorraine didn’t have a generic motivation to become the spy, fighter, and “warrior” she is in the film.
“[Usually] we need a reason to become a warrior,” Theron said, speaking of typical Hollywood scripts. “And I have problem with that because we really are warriors, and it’s time for us to be shown that way. […] We don’t need to lose a child or a husband or have some kind of revenge story to become a warrior. We don’t need that today.
“I think there are different ways to tell emotional stories than go for that easily manipulated emotions. […] Sometimes I feel there’s a laziness behind it. Of course I’m going to care for this woman if you tell me her husband died, but what about if you didn’t tell me? Could I still find a way to care for that woman? I think you could.”
Based on early reviews for “Atomic Blonde,” it seems plenty others do as well.
“Atomic Blonde” hits theaters July 28.