Speaking on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival, Hollywood actor Charlize Theron discusses inequality of pay in the film business, choosing darker roles, and more.
Recently, you fought for equal wages while filming Snow White And The Huntsman (2012). And in 2015, the Cannes Film Festival is being described as one for women, because the opening film had a female director. What do you think is the key to achieving gender equality in the film business?
I think it's happening, but at the same time, what we do is push the ball ahead, and when we let go, it falls all the way back. If we put consistent pressure and not sweep the subject under the rug, that's what changes the climate. In the last six months or so, I think people realised from the Sony leaks what was really happening with lack of a quality of pay, and they were shocked. If we talk about it more, people will hear it more and see how incredibly unfair it is that we are still living in that world. This is caveman stuff that we are talking about.
I read that you grew up watching Bollywood films. Is that true?
Yes, the biggest Indian population outside of India is in South Africa. So I grew up with the Indian culture, and a lot of Bollywood. I think they played more Bollywood movies than Hollywood movies.
Did you enjoy them?
Oh yes, very much. The singing and dancing were completely up my alley.
Would you be open to working in Bollywood?
Sure, why not? I am open to anything.
You've said that since you've become a mother, you are more attracted to dark material. Why is that?
I think what I was trying to say is that I am attracted to everything because my son makes me want to have awareness about everything. I feel that it is my job. The promise that I made to the universe when I said that I will raise this kid is very much connected to wanting to understand the world and its people better, so that I can teach him better. And I think hiding from darkness or from the things that are not so pretty is really excluding him from a lot of our world. I think we can all only change things and make them better if we are brave enough to look at them.
Watching you in Mad Max: Fury Road, I felt like I did when I watched Thelma & Louise (1991). What is it like to make action films?
This was a great opportunity and I saw that from the first moment I heard whispers of what George (Miller; director) wanted to do with this character. I realised that it had great potential for an actress. He was an incredible collaborator, and I really felt like I had a partner the entire time I was making the movie.