Monday, September 29, 2008

Going back in time with Charlize Theron's "Monster"

I've been asked before if I've ever interviewed Charlize Theron who is currently starring in "Battle In Seattle." The last time I interviewed Charlize was for the film "Monster." In recent years, my colleague has interviewed her a number of times. Most recently for "Battle In Seattle."

Charlize Theron during a special screening of "Battle In Seattle" at the Clarity Theater in Beverly Hills

For those of you who don't mind going back in time for an interview I did with Charlize in 2003, here is the feature about her past project, "Monster"

Beauty and the Beast
Charlize Theron discusses her transformation from model to 'Monster'

By Peterson Gonzaga
Entertainment News Wire

HOLLYWOOD --Aileen Wuornos is remembered as the man-hating serial killer executed on Oct. 9, 2002 in Florida. Now, through the power of the lens, former model Charlize Theron, the sexy star of this year's hit "The Italian Job," humanizes Wuornos with her performance in the biopic "Monster." Theron takes us on a journey into Wuornos' psyche -- from her affair with lover Selby Ward (Christina Ricci) to the events that drove her to kill.

Seeing Theron in a Beverly Hills hotel, dressed in a brown suede princess-cut jacket and dark teal skirt, her blue-gray eyes sparkling, it is hard to believe this is the same woman who played Wuornos on-screen.

Theron, who gained 30 pounds for the role and utilized subtle makeup effects, is excited to tell the story of her transformation into a "Monster."

Entertainment News Wire: What was your first reaction to the physical transformation?

Charlize Theron: I was very happy. I mean, people think that when you say yes to a movie you know you're going to look that way or it's going to turn out that way, but you don't. You're in the dark when you say yes to something. Two things concerned me: I didn't want it to be Charlize Theron just trying to be ugly for the sake of being ugly, and what I wanted to do was trying to get to look as close as possibly I could to Aileen. In doing that, I didn't want it to be a caricature with too much prosthetics or too much makeup, where it kind of throws you out of the movie. I didn't want it to be a makeup job. So when I saw myself and what Toni G, the makeup artist, did, I was extremely happy. I felt like she's taken my face and elements in my face and maybe highlighted something very subtly that really changed something completely.

ENW: You had to gain weight for the transformation. Did that affect your self-esteem or make you feel unglamorous?

Theron: No. I mean, I think as an actor -- for me, I speak for myself -- but I really like the whole actor as becoming the character. I think as an actor that's your job and you can't be selfish and put yourself ahead and go, "I don't really want to do that." I think when you say yes to a job, you have to be willing to do whatever is demanded of you to do the job as well as you can.

Also, it wasn't about getting fat. It was about getting myself physically at a place where I felt my body resembled something closely to hers in that she had a baby when she was 13 and she was homeless, so she was eating a lot of crap and didn't know where her next meal was coming around. Nutrition wasn't the primary problem for her. Her means of survival was hanging at biker bars and drinking a lot of beer. She was not a woman who had spent one day in her life at the gym. So I wanted to get to that place where I felt like that with my body.

ENW: Did you stay in character during the off times?

Theron: Not necessarily staying in character, but it's just staying in the world. I don't take it home or I don't torture myself or other people on the little bit of time off I had. In this movie, I would've lost my mind, and I tend to work much better when I can switch off and switch on again. I think you just exhaust yourself after a time, and so I would do things like watch mindless television when I'd have an hour off just to empty my head so I could start again.

ENW: You did the shoots at the actual locations. Did that help you or hinder you?

Theron: It was helpful this way -- that we didn't have the amount of money to build the sets. It was actually cheaper for us to shoot at the actual place where we didn't have to change anything. Thankfully, the people in Orlando and Daytona were kind of enough to invite us to shoot in these places and very helpful. For me, there is a sense of, wow, she's been here. More importantly, a lot of those people are regulars and they all knew her, and having them there as extras was quite strange.

ENW: When you were making the movie, did you try to keep yourself in a dark place emotionally to help re-create Aileen?

Theron: I can't work like that. I like my life way too much and I've found in the past when I don't discipline myself to get out of that dark place, you almost get scared to go there again because you have this fear of not knowing if you're going to get out of it again. I didn't want that, because I think that would limit me as an actor. So I have to switch off. I like my job a lot. I like my life a lot, too, and I find if I balance the two out, I see they kind of work out together.

ENW: Did making "Monster" change your stance on the death penalty, or do you have any view on the death penalty?

Theron: I do, but it didn't change while I was making this film or because of Aileen. I've always felt that, first, the death penalty is ineffective if that's the word. Secondly, I liked that this movie wasn't a movie that really wore that side of politics really on its sleeve, because I think people almost expected that from this movie.

Actually, I think it's much more effective. It shows the reality of what happened to her. And when you go into the journey of watching her life and then you realize that ended up happening to her -- in just watching that without somebody hitting you over the head and going, "The death penalty is wrong" -- I think it's very effective. Because you watch it and you go, "Well, we're just going to keep killing people in our society and condemning them for the horrific things that they did without looking at why this is happening. So we're going to continue this vicious cycle."

ENW: On a lighter note, since this movie is called "Monster," if you were a monster, what would it be?

Theron: (Laughing) Oh geez. I want to be the big monster in "Monsters Inc." The one John Goodman played. Sully? Is that his name? I love him. I want to be him.

ENW: If there were a "Monsters Inc." sequel, would you want to be in it?

Theron: (Laughing) Yes, yes. Definitely.

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