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Charlize Theron On Family, Fear And Finding Her Funny Side

“Obsessing is good for me”

Charlize Theron has been acting for more than 20 years. In that time, she’s played bulletproof ass-kickers, serial killers and darkly comedic antiheriones. But she’s never played the lead in a rom-com before. Until now…

This month, she stars as the elegant, hyper-adroit secretary of state Charlotte Field running for president (opposite Seth Rogan’s weed-loving lefty Brooklyn journalist, Fred Flarsky) in Long Shot.

Theron, 43, was nervous about taking the part. “When you do something that’s outside your wheelhouse, you naturally function from a place of fear a little bit,” she explains. “And Seth is a very confident writer, actor and director. He steps into the space with so much confidence that it’s intimidating. But he is also so available, and I realised that I could fully trust him.”

That trust translates on screen: Long Shot is a sharp, fearless, big-hearted, gut-bustlingly funny political valentine of a movie.

Charlize Theron
(Credit: Thomas Whiteside)

Theron prepared for the rom-com in the same way she prepares for a thriller: obsessively. “I’m on a job right now and I’m obsessive about the martial arts I’m learning. I get up at 4am to do it. I lie in bed at night thinking about the different hand positions. Obsessing is good for me … but I do struggle with a bit of OCD, so I have to organise things that I can see: closets, drawers. That’s to do with when I feel that things I can’t see are out of control. “

“I didn’t discover therapy until my mid-30s,” she continues. “My reasons for going had a lot to do with South Africa and uncertainty and living with an alcoholic every day [when Theron was 15, her mother, Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz, shot and killed her abusive alcoholic father after he threatened the two of them with a gun]. What I discovered was my life was an all-encompassing thing. It showed me I can see the big picture and understand the reason to get to a place where I could create a life for my own kids.”

In 2012, Theron adopted a child, Jackson (she recently confirmed that “Jacks”, now seven, identifies as a girl), followed a few years later by August, or “Auggie” (four), and she talks about motherhood with undisguised joy. “I love being a mum,” she says. “By the time I had kids, I was really ready. I’m in bed at 7:45 every night now, and I love it because I’ve lived. If I die tomorrow, I’m at peace with who I am in my life.”

Read the full interview in the June issue of marie claire, out Thursday.  


Long Shot is in cinemas now.

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