The South by Southwest film festival went atomic on Sunday night, bringing Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, and John Wick/upcoming Deadpool 2 director David Leitch to Austin, Texas for the world premiere of their action-packed, Cold War spy thriller Atomic Blonde.
As seen in EW’s first look at the film and the subsequent red-band trailer released last week, Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 operative sent into 1989 Berlin after another agent is murdered and a highly sought-after list of their compatriots goes missing. McAvoy costars as a hardened, debauched fellow agent and former Berlin bureau chief who’s tasked with working with Broughton to retrieve that list.
Fans of Leitch’s John Wick will be happy to hear the Atomic action sequences are frequent and impressive — earning cheers and applause during the film’s premiere screening. One prolonged sequence — which contains no obvious cuts — in which Theron takes on multiple agents in an apartment building and stairwell is an especially stunning piece of action work.
“I had eight amazing fight trainers who basically just made me puke every single day, and I’m very thankful to them,” Theron told the crowd after the screening. As she previously told EW and mentioned again at Sunday’s screening, the fight training was so intense she cracked two teeth in the back of her mouth from clenching them during the process. “I went into surgery right before we went out to Berlin to do this film and I’m still f–king dealing with it,” she added.
And, at least off-set, Leitch’s two modern action heroes did get to collide — Theron was prepping for Atomic Blonde at the same time Keanu Reeves was training for Wick. “We would kind of spar with each other and s— like that,” Theron said. “It was just very macho.”
Atomic Blonde, also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, and Toby Jones, storms into theaters on July 28. Read on for more reactions to the film from SXSW.
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