Charlize Theron is inarguably the biggest female action movie star of our times, and possibly of all time, given the wide variety of beloved roles she has played in that genre. Chief among them is Imperator Furiosa, the second lead of Mad Max: Fury Road. During a retrospective of her career at Comic-Con, Theron revealed how Sigourney Weaver’s iconic character Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise inspired her take on Furiosa.
“The first time I saw Sigourney Weaver play Ripley, it just changed everything for me. It was like the world opened up and the possibilities were just endless. The amount of intelligence she brought to that role, she was completely in demand of it; she owned that role. But it wasn’t forced, and it was written and it wasn’t acted, it just lived. And Furiosa was the first time I felt like… she just felt so real to me.”
It is easy to see the similarities between Ripley and Furiosa. Both are strong, ass-kicking women surrounded by hardy men, who manage to not only hold their own but lead the way when it comes to fighting off waves of Xenomorphs and dystopian post-apocalyptic bandits.
Unfortunately, while Weaver was able to portray Ripley across several movies, Theron’s journey with Furiosa appears to have ended with Mad Max: Fury Road. Although a Furiosa spinoff film is in the works, director Geroge Miller has revealed it is going to be a prequel that features a younger Furiosa played by a different actress. Nevertheless, Theron has stated that she still loves the character, and is grateful for the part she was able to play in its creation.
While Imperator Furiosa proved to be a huge hit with audiences and critics alike, Theron’s other early attempts at action movies were less-warmly received. Chief among them was Aeon Flux, a trippy sci-fi action movie that Theron believes was ahead of its time.
“Unfortunately thirty years ago there just weren’t a lot of opportunities for women to do movies like this. And the first time that opportunity first showed itself was after I won my Academy Award in 2004. And it was really hard making that film, Aeon Flux. It was really hard in the sense that there were so many preconceived ideas and there were all these boxes that everybody wanted to kind of like squeeze you into. It was a character that I think today would be celebrated cinematically way more than it was in 2004. It was just hard and I remember the film that really didn’t play as well as everybody thought.”
Past regrets aside, Charlize Theron is currently celebrating the success of her latest action film The Old Guard, which has already become one of the most popular movies on Netflix of all time, likely kickstarting an entire franchise’s worth of Theron playing an ancient assassin who goes around the world wrecking enemies and schooling her teammates on what it means to be an immortal warrior. This news first appeared at Comic-Con.org.