She may have been playing an infamous real-life serial killer in the 2003 thriller Monster, but even so, Charlize Theron just didn’t smile enough according to the male financiers of the film. Um, wow.
During a recent producers’ roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Theron was asked about one of the biggest fights she ever engaged in to get a project made. This fight, she explained, happened when she signed on to produce and star in Monster, which was directed by then-first-time director Patty Jenkins. Theron said that her weight gain for the role and lack of smiling was a bone of contention between her and the film’s financiers.
Keep in mind that Monster is a biopic about Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer who murdered seven men between 1989 and 1990.
One of the financiers asked Theron “what she was doing.” “‘You never smiled. You look so angry, you look horrible,'” Theron said the man told her. The backlash even made her panic a bit for taking such a risk with this role.
She believes the negative feedback from her financiers came from a place of sexism. “The character was very unusual,” said Theron, who ultimately won the Oscar for Best Actress for playing Wuornos.
Theron continued: “I think the financiers actually thought they were basically paying for a hot lesbian movie with me and Christina Ricci.”
Ah. There it is.
Thankfully, Theron did not let the backlash get to her, and her risk paid off big time. She expertly portrayed the troubled and angry Wuornos, and the character became one of her most memorable roles. Sorry, not sorry you didn’t get your “hot lesbian movie,” fellas. Theron (and Ricci) had work to do.