Charlize Theron may have an Oscar and stars in one of the biggest action franchises in the world, but she's accepted that she will never be famous on a "Kim Kardashian level." In a new interview with Haper's Bazaar, the Monster star said she has come to terms with the level of fame she has reached. Theron, 47, also reflected on how her star power hasn't helped her make the projects she wants.
"I feel like I'm at a place where it is what it is," Theron told Harper's Bazaar when asked about fame. "Working more isn't, I think, going to change my level of fame. It just has always been a mediocre ride. I've never been one of those people that's at a Kim Kardashian level. But I feel like it's just always been this thing."
Theron went on to say that star power is on the wane. It used to be that an actor would want to be famous so you could get any pitch you make produced. It's not like that anymore for Theron. However, she found the positive in this. "...Now it's like, I pitch s— all day long and people are like, 'No, thanks.' I'm like, 'I guess that's not cash in the bank anymore.' And that's nice," Theron said. "It's nice that you're making things on the merit of how good they are versus this idea of, like, 'Oh, you're this thing, and we want to be in business with that thing.'"
Theron's performance as Furiosa in Max Max: Fury Road helped start the latest phase of her career as an action movie star. In 2020, she starred in Netflix's The Old Guard and she joined the Fast and Furious franchise as Cipher in F9 last year. She recently started work on Fast X and is also filming The Old Guard 2. Theron is also a producer on The Old Guard and its sequel.
"There's a natural fight in me to want to create environments that feel like the things that I wish I had 30 years ago when I started," she told Harper's Bazaar. "I don't always get it right... but I am very aware of looking at the big picture and saying, 'Is this really the best we can do?'" As a producer on The Old Guard, she is proud that the cast and crew were 85% women.
Elsewhere in her new interview, Theron said she worked with one director early in her career who made her go through multiple costume fittings to sexualize her character. She recalled how she had no control over what she wore, with men all around her having the final say.
"When I started, there was no conversation around it," she recalled. "It was like, 'This is what you're wearing.' And I remember one movie in particular, this male director who just kept bringing me in, fitting after fitting after fitting after ... And it was just so obvious that it was to do with my sexuality and how f—able they could make me in the movie. And when I started out, that was just kind of the norm."
She was also inspired to launch her own production company, Denver & Delilah, after making Monster with Christina Ricci and director Patti Jenkins. She thought the film's producers wanted the movie to be a "hot lesbian movie" with Ricci. Theron wanted to protect Jenkins' vision for the film, a dark drama about the serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Theron underwent a complete physical transformation for the role and won an Oscar for her work. She has since scored two more Oscar nominations, for North Country (2005) and Bombshell (2019).