For Charlize Theron, agreeing to play controversial news personality Megyn Kelly in Bombshell was no easy decision.
“I admit fully that there were some things that bothered me that I had to work on… through getting to know her through research,” the 44-year-old Oscar winner revealed at a post-screening discussion in New York City on Sunday night.
“You forget sometimes, all of us do this, we tend to live in this world where we think we know people. As an actor you have to have the ability to put all of that aside,” she continued. “What the story was was really just this year at Fox. We weren’t telling a biography. This isn’t the Megyn Kelly story. Once I got past that, this year of her life was incredibly interesting and felt to me like a story worth telling.”
In her 2016 memoir Settle for More, Kelly detailed the sexual harassment she said she endured while working for former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow. He was accused of similar behavior by numerous women at Fox News, which he vehemently denied until his death in May 2017.
Bombshell — which stars Theron as Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie as a fictional Fox News worker — tells the story of the women who played a role in Ailes’ resignation from the company in July 2016.
In March, Theron said she had “empathy” for Kelly after playing her.
“I didn’t know how complicated her situation was,” Theron told Variety at the SXSW premiere of her movie Long Shot. “I think for a lot of people, they didn’t understand why she just didn’t speak up. She was in a complicated place, and as a human being, I have empathy for that. And I don’t think a lot of people truly understood that.”
Bombshell hits theaters December 20.