Charlize Theron has more than proved she has the skills to take anyone down, but that did not stop the creatives behind The Italian Job from underestimating her. The actress recalled the sexist environment she had to endure while preparing for her role in the 2003 film.
“I realized there was still so much misconception around women and the genre. Even though in that film, the action is really based on cars, we had to physically do a lot of that stuff,” the Oscar winner, 44, said during the virtual Comic-Con@Home “Evolution of a Badass” panel on Friday, July 24. “There was a real pressure to pull off those stunts with the actors. … There was a very unfair process that went with that. I was the only woman with a bunch of guys and I remember vividly getting the schedule in our pre-production, and they had scheduled me for six weeks more hard training than any of the guys. It was just so insulting.”
Theron (Stella Bridger) starred alongside Mark Wahlberg (Charlie Croker), Jason Statham (Handsome Rob), Edward Norton (Steve), Seth Green (Lyle), Mos Def (Left Ear) and Donald Sutherland (John Bridger) in the action movie about a group of thieves trying to recover gold following a heist gone wrong in Venice.
The Old Guard star revealed the circumstances “put a real fire under my ass” to show what she could do. “I was like, ‘All right, you guys want to play this game, let’s go,’” she recounted. “I made it a point to outdrive all of those guys. I vividly remember Mark Wahlberg, halfway through one of our training sessions, pulling over and throwing up because he was so nauseous from doing 360s.”
Though Theron has since made a name for herself in the genre, she knew the value of striking down naysayers when she began landing similar parts. “When I started my action career, it was so important to sell the authenticity of, ‘Yes, I can fight and I can take this guy down and I can survive this,’” she explained. “There was such a level of wanting to prove that to audiences who for years said, ‘No, a woman could never fight a guy that size.’”
The Bombshell actress told Us Weekly in October 2019 how she instills “kindness” and corresponding values in her children, Jackson and August. “We kind of live by our religion, which [says], ‘Do unto others the way you want to be done to you,’” she said. “We’re big on respect and thinking about others before we think about ourselves.”