Charlize Theron is someone who dives into the characters she plays with everything she’s got – wheather its an infamous female serial killer or a glossy anchorwoman. Playing former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, however, presented an internal challenge for Theron unlike she’s experienced before.
“This was not a person who was easy for me to wrap my arms around’, Theron admitted Friday night at a panel in Los Angeles following a screening of “Bombshell’, the film about the fall of Fox News founder Roger Ailes and the experiences of some prominent women at the network.
Much has been about Theron’s physical transformation into Kelly, particularly her ability to capture Kelly’s manner of speaking and overall demeanor. But the actress said it took her roughly two months to look beyond the news persona she knew.
“From afar it looks like we have nothing in common – obviously, I’m a liberal and a lot of these women have said things that have been deeply upsetting to me”, Theron said. “But at the same time, as women, understanding what each of them went through and understanding what Megyn was facing, especially in those two weeks where she didn’t step forward and she didn’t support Gretchen (Carlson), that’s when I emotionally tapped into her because I started to see the similarities between us, dare I say that”.
In the film, Nicole Kidman plays Carlson as she wages a legal war against Ailes, played by John Lithgow.
After Carlson’s suit become public, Ailes went on to be accused of sexual harassment by multiple women including Kelly, in a scandal and turning of the tides that took down the now-late executive host Bill O’Reilly (both men denied all the allegations).
“I saw a women with ambition, with drive and all of a sudden I realized, “S—t, this is the kind stuff that’s been weaponized against me. I relate to that”, Theron said. “That’s when it became clear to me just how important this story was. Because if we can see the power of the message through someone who we may not agree with or somebody who might even anger us, that tells you there’s something real there.”
Taking on the role was not a decision without second guessing, Theron said. In fact, she joked that she was “s—-scared” and once once called up the director and asked, ‘Am I f—ing crazy?”
He assured her she was not, she said. And they collaborated on finding Kelly’s emotional center.