Charlize Theron Recalls Having 'No Control' Over Her Costumes in Early Acting Days

·2 min read
UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 26: Charlize Theron attends CTAOP's Night Out on June 26, 2021 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for CTAOP)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 26: Charlize Theron attends CTAOP's Night Out on June 26, 2021 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for CTAOP)

Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Charlize Theron is opening up about a "belittling" experience from the beginning of her acting career, when she said she felt a male director wanted her to look more "f---able" on set.

Theron, 47, explained in an interview with Harper's Bazaar that directors giving her no control over what she'd wear on set was a pet peeve that "really f------ annoyed" her.

"Having some guy make you have a fitting almost in front of them—stuff like that, it's really belittling," the Academy Award winner shared. "When I started, there was no conversation around it. It was like, 'This is what you're wearing.'"

Charlize Theron arrives at the 92nd Oscars Nominees Luncheon on January 27, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Charlize Theron arrives at the 92nd Oscars Nominees Luncheon on January 27, 2020 in Hollywood, California.

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During her early years, Theron worked on a project with a male director whom she said would make her do "fitting after fitting after fitting" for it. She did not name the director in her conversation with Harper's Bazaar.

"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," Theron explained. "And when I started out, that was just kind of the norm."

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Theron took on her first credited acting roles in the mid-'90s, before her breakthrough role in 1997's The Devil's Advocate alongside Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino. She has since won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Patty Jenkins' 2003 feature Monster and was nominated for the award two additional times, for both North Country and Bombshell.

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In 2003, Theron founded production company Denver & Delilah after she got the sense that financiers behind Monster wanted "a hot lesbian movie with me and Christina Ricci," she told Harper's Bazaar. Jenkins' version of the film, instead, prevailed, she said.

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Nearly 20 years later, Theron is set on facilitating working environments opposite of what she dealt with at the beginning of her career. Her Netflix film The Old Guard included a cast and crew that was 85% women, she said, and its sequel will arrive in 2023.

"There's a natural fight in me to want to create environments [on set] that feel like the things that I wish I had 30 years ago when I started," Theron said. "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?'"

Theron will also star in Netflix's The School of Good and Evil, which debuts Oct. 21.