Charlize Theron Says Portraying Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell' Was 'Harder' Than Playing a Serial Killer

Charlize Theron said that playing Megyn Kelly was actually harder than getting into the mind of a serial killer for another role. Theron played Aileen Wuornos, a real-life murderer in 2003's Monster, but on Sunday she said that Kelly was harder to capture.

Theron plays Kelly in Bombshell, the new movie chronicling the resignation of Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Kelly was one of the women who came forward saying that Ailes had sexually harassed them. The movie screened on Sunday in New York City, followed by a Q&A with the cast. According to a report by PEOPLE, Theron was asked to compare Kelly to her portrayal of Wuornos.

"This was way harder," she said. "She’s incredibly well known. "I’ve never played anybody on that level. I’ve played real people that nobody knows about so there was less pressure when I did those."

Theron said that she had serious self-doubt in preparing for her role as Kelly. When she first saw the script, she said, she considered turning it down.

"Maybe there’s somebody out there who can do this better than you can," she remembered thinking. "But I was just really scared too. I honestly knew her so superficially."

Theron is one of the three main cast members in Bombshell, along with Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson and Margot Robbie as another Fox News employee. All three are up against Ailes, played by John Lithgow.

In real life, both Kelly and Carlson claimed they were sexually harassed by Ailes, who resigned from being CEO of the network in 2016. From there, he went on to become an adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign before his death in May of 2017.

Theron has previously said that working on this movie has given her more "empathy" for Kelly, who is often criticized for her media commentary. After Fox News, Kelly moved to NBC, where she turned the third hour of the Today Show into a talk show called Megyn Kelly Today. She was fired after making controversial statements on blackface.


"I didn’t know how complicated her situation was," Theron told Variety back in March. "I think for a lot of people, they didn’t understand why she just didn’t speak up. She was in a complicated place, and as a human being, I have empathy for that. And I don’t think a lot of people truly understood that."

Kelly has detailed her story in her 2016 memoir Settle for More. Bombshell hits theaters on Dec. 20, 2019.