Theron won an Academy Award for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Patty Jenkins’ first feature film, in part because she denied looking “fuckable” on screen.
Charlize Theron had to kill a bad idea for “Monster.”
Theron won an Oscar for her portrayal of Florida sex worker turned serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Patty Jenkins’s 2003 film debut, but the film’s financiers apparently had a very different film in mind rather than the raw and no restrictions from Theron for the role.
Theron told Harper’s Bazaar that some “Monster” financiers wanted “a hot lesbian movie with me and Christina Ricci,” a far cry from what the movie ended up being. Ricci played Wuornos’s semi-fictional lover, Selby Wall.
Theron founded her production company Denver & Delilah in part to protect director Jenkins’ vision and also to control her makeup and wardrobe. Theron’s dramatic transformation into the assassin Wuornos earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress, and Theron went on to produce the critically acclaimed “Bombshell” and “Mindhunter,” among other projects.
“There’s a natural struggle in me to want to create environments that feel like things I wish I had 30 years ago when I started,” Theron said. “Having absolutely no control over what you wear is a big thing that really bothered me for years. Having a guy make you have a test almost in front of them, things like that, it’s really demeaning.”
The “Old Guard” actress continued, “When I started, there was no conversation about it. It was like, ‘This is what you’re wearing.’ And I remember one movie in particular, this male director who kept bringing me back, test after test after test after… And it was so obvious that it had to do with my sexuality and how fuckable they could make me in the movie. And when I started, that was the norm.”
“Monster” director Jenkins previously told IndieWire that she was “pretty sure it would never get made,” let alone win an Oscar.
“It’s rare that a character movie is easy to finance, but it can be financed,” Jenkins said at the time. “I have a real pet peeve for women who play damaged characters but don’t look damaged.”
And for Jenkins, Theron was the only actress for the role. “She’s so beautiful that she doesn’t have to protect her beauty,” Jenkins said. “Few would have the courage to walk this line and lead humanity to it. [she is] the only person I ever wanted to be in the movie.”