Charlize Theron isn’t in her twenties anymore — and she feels it.
The Oscar winner appears on Variety‘s latest cover story where she talks about gaining weight for a new role and the grueling training she had to go through for Atomic Blonde, out July 21.
After immersing herself in the fast-paced world of a secret spy named Lorraine while filming Atomic Blonde, Theron took on the role of a mom of three in the upcoming Tully — and gaining weight for it wasn’t easy. Though the 41-year-old had experience gaining weight for her Oscar-winning turn in Monster back in the early 2000s, Theron admits being in her forties now affected her more during the process.
“It was brutal in every sense,” Theron says. “This time around, I really felt it in my health. The sugar put me in a massive depression. I was sick. I couldn’t lose the weight. I called my doctor and I said, ‘I think I’m dying!’ And he’s like, ‘No, you’re 41. Calm down.’ ”
Theron in 2003’s Monster
The actress also pushed her body to the limit while learning some of the tough moves she’d have to do in Atomic Blonde and ended up cracking her teeth from clenching her jaw too hard.
“It happened the first month of training,” Theron says. “I had severe tooth pain, which I never had in my entire life.”
A visit to the dentist revealed that the actress would have to undergo surgery before filming in Budapest, “having to cut one of the teeth out and root canals,” Theron recalls. “It was tough. You want to be in your best fighting shape, and it’s hard. I had the removal and I had to put a donor bone in there to heal until I came back, and then I had another surgery to put a metal screw in there.”
The actress admits that she poured herself into training because she had never fought before, even though she was already comfortable with choreographed movement. “I’m coordinated because I was a dancer, and I definitely have movement memory, but I’ve never been a fighter,” she says. “I’m also really tall and a girl. That tends to make you look like you’re Big Bird.”
Theron is also excited to bring a different kid of representation to the screen. Although she goes toe-to-toe with costar James McAvoy, it’s The Mummy‘s Sofia Boutella who her character ends up sleeping with without much explanation of her sexuality.
“I just loved it,” Theron says about the idea. “For so many reasons: My frustration of how that community is represented in cinema, or lack thereof. And also, it made perfect sense. It just suited her. It just felt there was a way through that relationship and the fact that it was a same-sex relationship to show a woman not having to fall in love, which is one of those female tropes. ‘It’s a woman; she better fall in love — otherwise, she’s a whore!’ ”