Charlize Theron - Kicking Ass in "Atomic Blonde" - Extended Interview

Extended - July 26, 2017 - Charlize Theron 07/26/2017 Views: 25,267

Charlize Theron chats about doing her own stunt work in the action film "Atomic Blonde" and discusses her foundation, which helps fight AIDS in her native South Africa. (10:30)

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Please welcome Charlize Theron!

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

(cheering continues)


Thank you.

-Thank you. That's nice.-Welcome to the show.

I am... so happy to be here.

I don't think you understandhow excited I am.

(cheering, applause)


I am not afraid to share this.

When you won your Academy Award,I remember I was sitting,

and I owneda tiny little Volkswagen Golf,

and I was in it,and they had announced

that you won the Oscar, and Istarted crying, and I was like,

(mock crying):"She's so good. She's so..."

Like, all of South Africawas-- and I was like,

"She's so amazing...and so golden.

It's so good."

-Thank you for being here. -AndI said exactly the same thing

-when you got this job.-You cried as well?

And I said, "He's so amazing,he's so gold..."

Thank you very muchfor being here.

-Wonderful to have you here.-So happy to be here.

You are a bona fide action star.

I mean, Atomic Blonde is basedon a graphic novel.

-You spent what, five yearsdeveloping the story? -Yeah.

For those who have no cluewhat it's about,

uh, real quick, what is Atomic Blonde all about?

It's about an Mi-6 agentwho gets sent into Berlin

five days before the wall falls.

And she's supposed to just goand recruit a colleague's body

and bring the body back, andthen she gets kind of caught up

trying to find this list.

And, uh, and all sortsof action ensues.

Yeah, "action ensues"is an understatement.

I have never seen more peoplebeing kicked in my life.

Like, this isjust excessive kicking.

It's ama... And youare kicking them, by the way.

I... like, I've seen youkick ass in a movie,

but not like this.

-You-you, uh, you dida lot of your stunts? -Yes.

Is this, like, a new thing?You just don't like

-how you look...-It's kind of an old thing.

I feel like South African girlsare just tough.

There's something in the waterin South Africa, right?


No, that's not true,that's not true.

We actually have some of thebest water in the world.

That's not true.Some of the rivers...

some of the rivers have aproblem, but the water is good.

Uh... yeah, but you...but you're super tough.

Like, on this movie alone,I read that you had bruises

on your ribs,you bruised, like, your shin

or you... and, then, your teeth,you chipped teeth?

Yeah, I cracked two teethin the back of my mouth,

uh, I think three weeks intostarting the training for it.

-Why?-Um, I think panic

just kicked in, and I apparentlyclenched down on my jaw so hard

trying to learn how to hit.

So you... you weren't being hit?

No, I didn't get hit.

I can't even saysomebody punched me, or, like...

You know, it's not a cool story.

It's literallyjust me doing this.

-(laughter)-That's how I did it.

You... I know thatyou used to be a dancer,

-but fighting is a completelydifferent discipline. -Yeah.

On a scale of one to ten,how dangerous are you right now?

Oh, no. We wrapped this movietwo years ago.

I can barely doa flight of stairs.

-I mean...-(laughter)

-I'm out of breath...-I don't believe that.

No, it's the truth. I had to doa walk-and-talk interview

the other day, and we had to cutbecause I was out of breath.

How long was the walk?

It's just like... 'Causethere is a scene in the movie

where-- I don't wantto spoil it for people--

but it is a fight scenein a staircase,

and it is one of the mostamazing fight scenes

-Oh.-you will ever watch.

And I mean it,this is not just from me.

Action fans go like, "That sceneis phenomenal to watch."

When you're filming that,when people are attacking you,

I know that you're acting,but it's still punches, right?

-Mm-hmm, yeah. -So you, like,you can't tell the fist,

-"Hey, we're acting," right?-Yeah.

So if the fist hits your faceyou can't be like,

-"No, this is acting."-Yeah, no.

Like, in that moment whenit's happening for real,

are you ever going like,"Oh, I might get punched.

I might get punched,I might get punched"?

Yeah. I mean,I think you realize

it's par-par for the coursewhen you make a movie like this

for stuff like that to happen.

And I think something--you always kind of prepare

that something will happen.

And I think that makes it better

when you do get hitor something.

I didn't get hitonce on this movie,

but I collided with a cameraoperator in that sequence.

There's a scene whereI get hit by a bag

and I swing around,and I just-- I mean, literally,

I saw stars for, like,three seconds.

And the camera operatorwas a little dazed.

And then we just got upand did it again.

And he was like, "I-I don't,I don't even get

"to be in the credits for this.

"I'm-I'm not, I'm notin the starring role.

Look, I got bruised,I got bruised."

Um, the movie looks amazing.

It's a, it's a reallyexciting project.

You didn't just star in it,you also produced it.

-Is that an exciting ventureto step into, you know? -Yeah.

Being in Hollywood,being a powerful woman

that's now taking on additionalroles from-from all angles?

Yeah. I've always loved,I think, uh,

-many aspects of making films.-Right.

I think, you know, even when Idid my first job as an actor,

I wanted to know who-whothat guy was

and what did th-that guy...and why is that guy there?

And why does it costso much money to do th--

I-I always had an interestin all of it.

And I think producing kind ofcame from that interest.

I think there's always beena business woman inside me

that needed to kind of come out,

and I get to do thatthrough producing.

But I think more importantly,it's-it's really, um,

there's something empoweringhaving a company,

and being able to, you know,

make material come to life

that, uh, is empoweringfor women, and I think,

you know, just new and fresh.

And making stuff that makeswomen feel, uh, you know,

what they deserve to be,what they are, you know?

That, to me-- making this film,

um, I-I just really wanted tocelebrate women, in this film.

-It-it celebrates...-And how great we are.

(cheering and applause)

Let's, uh, let's change gearsfor a moment

and talk about the workthat you do off camera.

Um, you have a foundation thathas been really successful

working in and aroundSouth Africa and in Africa.

The Charlize Theron Foundation

that you-you work with peopleto help and fight

the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

I mean, we-we joke about thatall the time, and it's funny,

'cause back home we joke aboutit more than people

-are comfortable within America. -Yeah, it's true.

Oh, because I think part of ithas been, like, we don't--

we're trying not to stigmatizethe disease.

-You want to turn the light onin the black room. -Yes.

Yeah. We don't want it to feellike the thing

-that people arewhispering about, -Right.

or nobody's talking about,so I get that.

I think sometimesyou have to do...

Looking at the work now,do you feel

that people are are still payingattention to issues

that are happening inThird World countries?

Or do you think now that Trump

is turning Americainto a Third World country,

people are more focusedon what's here?

Do you still have attentionin what you're doing?

I might, I might have tobring my work back here.

The foundation moves.

Um, look. South Africa's,unfortunately, the hardest hit

when it comes to HIV, AIDS,still today.

But we're also, you know,it's a virus,

and it's still, um, very muchalive in-in America.

It kills a lot of adolescentsin America,

and so I thinkit's a big mistake

to think thatwe've come this far,

and, uh, you know,

we have medications,and, uh, ARVs,

and everything's gonna be okay.

It's a virus,and if it comes back

it might come back roaring,

and our bodies might not betaking to those ARVs anymore.

So I think thatit's a big mistake

to kind of be complacent rightnow when it comes to AIDS.

Let me ask you one final thingas a fellow South African.

I love it when you say that.

As a fellow South African, uh...

As a fellow South African,I've always wondered--

you-you know, you came to theU.S. at a-at a different time,

but I always wondered if you hada similar experience

of people wonderingwhat South Africa is

and Africa is.

I know that I had some peoplelook at me and go,

"Like, Africa Africa?"And I'll be like, "Yeah, I'm...

yeah, I'm from Af..."And they're like, "Huh.

Not-not, like, Egyptor Algeria?" And I'm like,

-"Oh, no. Africa. Like,just Africa Africa." -Yeah.

But you-you don't look what many people

would think they would findin South Africa.

Yeah. I get the,"Not Sweden? Sweden?" Um, yeah.

I mean, I think it's strangefor people to see a-a white girl

-say she's from Africa.-Right.

There are-there are... We...

Yeah, there are white girlsin Africa, too.

Um, and we havethe booties to prove it.


But I always get--I don't know if you get this--

I get... a lot of times I get,

-"So did you grow up withzebras in your backyard?" -Yes.

-Did you get that a lot?-I did. And then, one day,

I-I... I s...I fumed at someone.

I was like, "That's notwhat it is. We don't just

have zebras running aroundand we don't have..."

And then, the next dayin the news, there was a story

of a zebra that wasblocking traffic on the freeway.

And I was like,"That's an isolated incident.

That's never happened before."

We are aboutmuch more than that.

-Yes.-Yes. We do have the zebras.

-Yes.-But not all the time.

-Yes, exactly.-Not all the time.

Uh, of the two thi...I just have to ask this, uh,

for-for those back home:what would you say

is the biggest thing you missabout South Africa?

'Cause, I mean, we get thatyou're a Hollywood star, A-list,

and you... the work is where youare, but what is the one thing

you go, like,"Man, South Africa"?

One thing is tough.I mean, I... It's mos...

-Like, I miss all the food.I really do. -Right.

I-I... I... I miss melktertand koeksister

and braaibroodjie.

Oh, see, see?This is going deep.

Yeah, and pap en sousand all of that.

-I miss all of that.-Right.

But, you know, I think...I-I'm-I'm lucky--

I-I get to go back at least oncea year, if not twice a year,

-because of my foundation.-Uh-huh.

And then I just pig out.But, you know, I...

There's somethingin the soil there.

There's something, uh,in the air.

There's something in the people

that you justcan't find anywhere else,

-and that...-Cholera.

I had to. I'm so wrongfor doing it, but I had to.

Yes, I'm sorry, but... Yes.

Oh, that's amazing.

-Um... -But, yes, y...something you find

in the people,the soil and the air.

I miss cholera.

That's what I miss.

We are-we are so proud of you.

Uh, thank you very muchfor being on the show,

and thank you for kicking assin Atomic Blonde.

-Thank you, Trevor.-I love you so much.

Atomic Blonde will be in theaters July 28.

Charlize Theron, everybody.

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