Tough chick Charlize Theron » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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Los Angeles – You have seen her as Aileen Wuornos in “Monster,” or as Queen Ravenna in “The Huntsman” series, or as Imperator Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road.” You know Charlize Theron can be mean and furious in her roles.

In her new action spy thriller “Atomic Blonde,” you will see her giving James Bond a run for his money. She kicks ass…fashionably dressed and in high heels!

Charlize Theron
(Photo courtesy of Janet R. Nepales/HFPA)

In the David Leitch-helmed film, Charlize portrays Lorraine Broughton, a top level spy for M16 who is dispatched to Berlin to take down an espionage ring.

Did she train with some Asian martial artists to learn the ropes, we asked the stunning actress.

“Some of them were Asian.  Not all of them were Asian,” she replied. “Yeah, they were just really very skilled people.  I had very good teachers. They had their specialties and their things to focus on with me. They became like a team of people who worked with me.

“Also a lot of them ended up playing the KGB agents which just made me feel more confident in having to do all of that with them because I had been training with them.  The sequence inside the apartment where I’m fighting the police, they were actually all locals.  They were stunt guys out of Budapest and so I had never fought with them before. They took a couple of hits to the face for sure. It’s a bit of a dance and you learn how to dance with one partner. It doesn’t just happen overnight and so I had to buy a lot of alcohol to apologize to those guys.

“Then the fight on the stairway that was all of my guys who I trained with. We had zero injuries. Nothing happened.  Unless they just didn’t tell me about it.”

So did she surprise herself with all the action stuff that she did in the movie?

“Yeah, it’s a little bit of everything,” she explained.  “I don’t think I would have been interested or been able to dedicate as much of my time and effort and energy towards this if I didn’t see a real attraction to the challenge. A lot of that challenge was the physical storytelling aspect of it.

“My history as a ballet dancer always made me fascinated by that idea and some great Hong Kong filmmakers have been really good at utilizing action to tell a story and not just using action for the sake of action. So that was very exciting for me.

“I knew that there was something about director Dave Leitch that made me realize that he really wanted to do something that was going to push the envelope and he had great ideas. But with great ideas come the realization of what that actually really translates to and it translates that you have to be able to do things in order to shoot it a certain way. That makes it very new. That makes it physically really challenging.

“So there were a lot of mornings where I couldn’t get out of my car. I had like valet attendants waiting very patiently for me to drag my body out of my car because my quads hurt so badly and my kids made a lot of fun of me. But other than that, you get pass that point and you feel your body has become like a machine.  You feel really strong. You feel really capable. Once I hit that place, it just gives me great confidence to do more.”

Does she feel like Hollywood has become more female-centric when it comes to action roles?

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” she said.  “That’s a big slice of a pie to take.  Yes and no.  It’s a more complicated question because I’m very well aware that the first time I saw Sigourney Weaver in ‘Alien,’ the character of Ripley really awoken something in me as a young girl. That was many years ago so I feel like we have but we are not consistent within it. Something happens and audiences respond to it and then we just don’t make them anymore.

“As soon as a film with a female lead doesn’t work then all of a sudden everything just gets halted. Nobody wants to make another one.  That’s problematic.  The fact that we are the majority of the world as far as our population goes and that we don’t have not even an equal amount of females that make these kind of movies, yeah, something’s not right with that.

“We’ve lived in a society where for a long time we wanted to believe that women just didn’t like the genre. It’s now been statistically proven that women play video games. We like UFC. We like genre films. So that’s slowly changing.”

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