Charlize Theron Interview

Bonnie Godas

During her recent trip to Boston to receive her 2008 Hasty Pudding Award for woman of the year, actress and producer Charlize Theron sat down for a roundtable interview to discuss acting, producing and her newest film, “Sleepwalking.”

Mass Media: Is it true that this film was sold on 15 minutes of footage? Charlize Theron: Yes, I’m thanking the movie gods for that one. We shot it completely independently, and we wrapped around December 10. I’d worked with the editor and we had about 15 minutes put together, and somehow there was 15 minutes put together chronologically and that’s what we sent off to Sundance and it was great. It was the best thing you can hope for.

MM: As an actress, you’ve become quite a chameleon. How much of this character is in costume and body language?

CT: You know what, it’s really tricky when you start thinking about the process. Because, for me, there is not really just one process, and I want to believe there is a little bit of magic. […] But you are not really aware of it because there isn’t one particular way that I work. It’s always been different. […] It’s kind of like maybe if you think about it too much, the magic is going to go away.

MM: How was [co-star AnnaSophia Robb’s] experience as far as coming from those fantasy films? CT: You know what, I think she was more than capable of pulling off this material. She was really the element that kind of made me commit to the film. I liked the story a lot, […] but if you don’t find the right girl then story is just not going to happen. I said it’s not really going to happen because we need an 11-year-old and it’s really challenging work. She read a couple of scenes, and it was like, I gotta do it with her.

MM: How do you decide on an actor? Does it just come to you or do you have lists of actors that you go through?CT: We have tons of lists. Our office is filled with lists because you have so much stuff in development, and you kind of pull up a wish list. It’s very interesting when you make this size film, and it’s very independent, and you get a lot of pressure from your financers to get a certain kind of cast together. But the blessing is we got the cast together that our financers were happy with.

MM: Did you really want this part?CT: I really liked the idea of playing someone who was a flawed mother. That was an uncomfortable character, yet, to me, very real. There are women out there that we have to look at and then kind of judge them. I believe women are conflicted. Somewhat more than men, yet in film and society, we just don’t want to believe that. We are real people. We have flaws and somehow we are just not comfortable showing that.

MM: Do you have any plans to direct in the future?CT: I don’t know. I never thought I would produce. But then again, I like not knowing what the future holds. I don’t have an urgent feeling right now that makes me want to go, God, I’d really like to direct. But I like filmmaking, so you never know.