Charlize Theron is already earning Oscar buzz for her performance as Megyn Kelly in Bombshell, but the actress had doubts about accepting the role of the former Fox News anchor.
In an interview with the New York Times, Theron described what she learned by playing Kelly in the film and said that friends had an "awkward" reaction to her gig.
"It was definitely awkward," Theron explained. "In a weird way, the judgement [Megyn] gets from a lot of people, I felt on me a little bit. But up until four weeks into shooting, I was still grappling with who she was as a person, and it wasn’t until I really zeroed in on that year and a half of the story that I could actually defend her."
Kelly was one of the many women to come forward accusing Roger Ailes, the longtime chairman of Fox News, of sexual harassment. The film walks a fine line, according to the New York Times, of portraying the journalist as sympathetic when it comes the harassment she faced, while also including her more controversial moments — like when she insisted on-air in 2013 that "Santa just is white."
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"There are things she has said that I’ve definitely had issues with, but it doesn’t invalidate how I feel about her struggle," explained Theron. "Avoiding all of that stuff to get an emotional arc out of her character, I just didn’t want to be a part of that."
Theron continued, "By the way, if this was a movie about me — and I hope nobody ever does one — it would be filled with flaws and mistakes, and I wouldn’t want somebody to take those things away. I really do believe that what she and those women went through was messed up, even though they work for a network that I highly have issues with."
"I would imagine that as the mother of two black children, you didn’t relish re-enacting her 'Santa is white' segment," remarked the New York Times reporter.
"Thank you!" Theron "emphatically" replied. "Yeah, that was hard for me."
Theron agreed when the reporter made the connection between the similarities in Bombshell and how Harvey Weinstein behaved with the women he allegedly harassed, pitting them against each other.
"Yeah, and he did that to everybody," said Theron.
"Pitting women against each other? He was really, really good at that. There was a lot of, like, 'Well, I’m talking to Gwyneth [Paltrow] for this movie …' One of his lines was that Renée [Zellweger] and I slept with him to get jobs. There was no limit to him. Even in the sexual favours, he would still pit us against each other."
Bombshell lands in UK cinemas January 2020. Watch a trailer below.