Doing romcom ‘fun and scary’: Long Shot star Charlize Theron
Long Shot star on why she took on latest role, and her movie-star looks
Charlize Theron does not want to talk about politics at our interview for the new romantic comedy Long Shot, even though she plays the US secretary of state preparing to make a run for the presidency.
She tried to explain at our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills: "Obviously, we are selling a very specific film, and I feel like when we start talking about real politics, it throws the fun out of this movie, and that is the clickbait that everyone throws out there.
"Don't kill me here, I am selling a comedy. Help me out, I am begging you."
Okay, so why this movie then?
The Oscar-winning 43-year-old South African actress said: "I pick projects where I ask myself, 'Is there something in this that scares me that I haven't done before? That I feel like maybe I can't do but want to try?' I never thought I would be in a romantic comedy. Ever. So that is fun and also scary."
In Long Shot, which sneaks today and tomorrow before opening on Thursday, Theron is Charlotte Field, the glamorous powerhouse diplomat globe-trotting the world for the US with no time for a personal life.
Then she runs into Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), a radical, scruffy journalist with outspoken political views whom she babysat 25 years before.
She is at the top of her game in the ultimate power circles; he just got fired from his newspaper for his uncompromising attitudes.
But when he reminds her of her childhood idealism, she decides to hire him as her speechwriter. As her poll numbers heat up, so too does their relationship, much to the horror of her campaign team.
Theron and Rogen are both producers on Long Shot, which is directed by Rogen's frequent collaborator Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Night Before).
The character of Charlotte came about as Theron thought about what she wanted to see in a modern female politician.
She said: "I tried hard when we were developing this film to always have a need for her to want to be a real person whom women could see themselves in.
"I think a modern woman is not a hard woman, it is not a woman who just wants to live independently and wants to say f*** men.
"A modern woman is somebody who wants to be respected and appreciated for being feminine, but also doesn't want to be made to feel like she is not capable.
"And I think the utmost romantic notion of a movie like this is the idea that you can be all of that and still have a man fall in love with you and be okay with that."
Being an accomplished and beautiful woman herself, surely there have been men who have felt intimidated by Theron?
She recently declared to Entertainment Tonight that she has been single for 10 years and that "somebody just needs to grow a pair and step up" because she is "shockingly available".
It is not known why she appears to have scrubbed off US actor Sean Penn from her dating history, as the couple got engaged in 2014 and broke up in 2015.
She previously dated Irish actor Stuart Townsend for eight years and US rock band Third Eye Blind's frontman Stephan Jenkins for three years.
'LIVING YOUR FULL POTENTIAL'
She said: "I have definitely encountered a feeling of realising my relationship will do so much better if I just make my life, and myself, a little bit smaller. And then I grew up and I said f*** that. What you realise is that you are not living your full potential and then you start resenting somebody.
"And I would rather be single than resent somebody for not letting me be who I know I am."
While Theron accepts her Hollywood movie star looks, she said she always had to fight to overcome it.
"In many ways, my life was set up to be a narrative of beauty getting into the modelling industry, and I did not like that narrative. It has only been in the last 10 years that I have actually come to peace with that and not felt like that was the thing that I always had to prove in the room, that I wasn't that and I was something more.
"I hope that my beautiful kids will not have to go through that. But I have a very complicated relationship with my beauty because it was almost everything that stood in the way of the thing that I really wanted."
A successful acting career is something Theron - who has two adopted African-American daughters aged seven and four - never thought she would have when she was growing up in South Africa.
"I get to do something that I absolutely love every single day, and I tell my kids, 'Just promise me that you will find something that you love.' Because I know that if they do, they will be happy people, and I know that is why I am a happy person."
Theron also shared her thoughts on dating now that her children are older.
"There was a natural progression when they both came into my lives where I wanted to be a mum so badly that it was so all-consuming. I was raising these beautiful babies that my life kind of took a back seat and it was really good. I wasn't longing for anything else.
"And then when your kids get a little bit older and they are going to school, your life opens up a little bit.
"I don't think I ever enter any dating situation jumping that far ahead where I am like, 'Can I marry this guy and is he going to be with my kids and is my mum going to like him?'
"I tend to treat it very much like, 'Hey, let's see if we get along, and who knows, maybe this goes further.'"
The writer is the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organisation of entertainment journalists that also organises the annual Golden Globe Awards.
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