Photo-Illustration: Maya Robinson/Vulture and Photos by Paramount Pictures, Newmarket Films, Focus Features and Warner Bros. This article has been updated to reflect Charlize Theron’s most recent work. You’ve probably heard the story about how Charlize Theron was discovered. A former model and aspiring ballerina who had to give up that dream after she damaged her knee, she was at a low point in 1994 when she went into a bank in Los Angeles, blowing her lid at the teller who wouldn’t cash her check since she didn’t have an account. A talent manager saw her freaking out and famously told her, “I don’t know what you do, but if you’re interested in acting, here’s my card.” What’s amazing about that story is that, as accomplished as she’s been over the last 25 years, Theron isn’t someone we think of as being a volcanic onscreen presence. Even when she plays deeply troubled characters (like she did in her Oscar-winning turn in Monster) or ferocious warriors (as in the magnetic action-thriller Mad Max: Fury Road), the actress exudes a sense of tightly wound control. For proof, look no further than 2017’s adrenalized spy thriller Atomic Blonde, in which she plays Lorraine Broughton,… Read full this story
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