James McAvoy: Charlize Theron is ‘so golden… she’s so icy & dauntless’

There are plenty of men who want to front like they enjoy working closely with women, but when it comes down to it, they do not. Hollywood is the same. There are actors who just want to work with women when those women are cast in supporting roles, as objects to be won, as objects to be fought over, as two-dimensional narrative devices to move the action forward. Take Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron’s working relationship on Mad Max: Fury Road, which was notoriously difficult. I believe there was probably a significant anger, on Tom’s part, that Charlize’s Furiosa was occupying so much space in the story. Anyway, James McAvoy is not that guy. I really believe that. McAvoy loves to work with women and he thought it was a deep privilege to work with Charlize on Atomic Blonde. Charlize is, without a doubt, the star of the film. McAvoy supports HER. And he was honored.

His character in Atomic Blonde: “I play the station chief of Berlin; he’s an MI6 agent and he has gone over there being a pretty straight spy-type… I just saw him as somebody who was burning up. I did this little bit of research and found this tidbit that I found very interesting and kind of formed the backbone of my whole characterization really: Which is that post-World War II, MI6 quite liked to hire alcoholics, drug addicts, and gay men. They liked the fact that they were already well-versed and well-used to keeping a very large secret and functioning well in society while keeping that secret—holding down relationships and jobs. There were transferable skills there. But also in the case of the drug addicts and the alcoholics particularly—they were probably gonna burn out really quick, die young. And as such, didn’t really present any ongoing problems.”

Working with Charlize: “Charlize. She’s so golden, she’s glittering, she’s so icy and dauntless. When I saw that, I thought, I’m definitely going to go the other way with my guy just to present a contrast—have him feverish, and burning up and sort of a mess. Really just struggling to hang on. And loves it! I don’t really get the feeling that [Lorraine] Broughton, as played by Charlize, is a character that relishes spy games, you know what I mean? She’s got a clinical kind of distance from it, and there’s a mystery behind her motivation and why she’s doing it. With Percival, he’s not really spying and dying for Queen and country, he’s doing it for the love of the game.

Whether he got involved in the action sequences: “It’s mainly Charlize. I get to tussle a little bit which is fun, and I get my ass f–king kicked by one Charlize Theron, which was a privilege and an honor. She really is fantastic in this film, she really is something quite spectacular. Watching her do what she does in it, I think it’s—you know, I’ve worked with Hugh Jackman and Angelina Jolie, and she’s up there. She is one of the most talented physical actors from a dance background all the way through all the fights and stuff. David Leitch, who directed this, would also say she was up there as one of the most physically gifted actors that he’d ever worked with, as far as fight capability and all that stuff. He was like ‘Charlize is just bang up there with them, you know?

He says Charlize probably needed surgery: “Yeah, I’m pretty sure she still needs surgery, or dental surgery? I think she fractured ribs doing this movie! She was a trooper, she just kept going. We had a small budget, shooting six days a week in minus ten degrees Celsius, whatever that is in Fahrenheit… it’s well below freezing, and she’s f–kin’ getting smacked about by big stuntmen, and there’s no—she doesn’t give herself any quarter. She doesn’t ask for anything, she came in, and just played on through it. She should, of course. People should do that. But she really, I don’t know, she really put the shift in for this one.

[From GQ]

Ooh, I love that he namechecked Angelina too!! I remember the promotion for Wanted (the film he did with Angelina) and he was always talking about how tough she was and how good she was at stunt work. I do believe that was Angelina’s strength, back in the day – she was great whenever she had to do very physical work. Charlize is the same – she’s one of the best physical performers, plus she’s great whenever she gets to play an icy bitch. I love this: “She’s so golden, she’s glittering, she’s so icy and dauntless.” I bet they had a great time working together, honestly.

Here’s one of the last trailers for Icy Bitch Realness: The Movie.

Kesha arrives at Los Angeles International (LAX) Airport

Photos courtesy of Getty, EW.

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43 Responses to “James McAvoy: Charlize Theron is ‘so golden… she’s so icy & dauntless’”

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  1. Nicole says:

    Sounds good. James does have a history of actually giving the female leads in the movies he is in his props. He doesn’t really have an issue being the supporting. I like that.
    Seeing this at a screening next week so hopefully it’s good!

    • INeedANap says:

      Yeah he seems like the real deal. Great actor, generally low-key, and he quashed the divorce drama pretty quickly.

    • ichsi says:

      Completely agreed. Jaaaaaaaaames!! I’m miffed I have to wait until late August to see Atomic Blonde but I loved the John Wick movies and if they’ve kept it even a little bit in line with the book, this is a sleek spy flick with a gorgeous aesthetic where finally a woman is the one being too cool to be true.

      • hmmm says:

        I was wondering if it’s similar to the Wick movies which I adore. He’s actually got me interested in this flick now.

  2. SM says:

    She’s so golden, she’s glittering, she’s so icy and dauntless – the way he continues after this quote, it sort of sounds like he describes her character in the film, but really, he is talking about Charlize herself.

  3. Maya says:

    Frankly I don’t see the action talent from Charlize yet. She was not that great in Aon Flux (something like that).

    Maybe she has improved and really is in the same league as Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovowich etc

    • Seraphina says:

      Maya, I agree I don’t see that from her yet. She’s very close but I’ve seen Angie in so many flicks that I think CT needs some more movies under her belt to be in that category. But don’t get me wrong, she can act. I’m
      Not taking that away from her.

      And ❤️JM. How secure he is really shows and makes him even more attractive. And which woman wouldn’t want to work with him when he gushes over his female leads???? Well done James, well done.

    • Mannori says:

      +1. I remember some action sequences of her in Aeon Flux were cringe worthy. Her physicality comes from the fact that she’s tall and big but I’ve never seen her as quick and fluid in her movements, and it’s probably also because of her being so tall and big. Not even in Mad Max: the most demanding scenes were clearly shot by her stunt double. Maybe she really put some effort in this one. She loves to remind over and over again that she’s a dancer but some years of ballet classes as a child doesn’t quality as dancer. She moves awkwardly actually.

    • Sami says:

      Aeon Flux was a misstep that she readily copes to. She used her Oscar cache to push for a female director who sadly had no experience in action and she herself had none either. But by all accounts, Charlize completely redeems herself as Furiousa in Mad Max. That movie was one of the highest grossing films of the year beaten only by the big comic and starwars franchises. The other thing that sets it apart from some other action stars is that this movie wasnt sold on sex appeal. Her face was intentionally grimed up and obscured and the hair buzzed off to sell the character not the beauty.

      And I’m sorry but any listing of convincing female action stars that does not start with Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver is a fail

    • Adrien says:

      The Trailer for Atomic proves she is no Angelina or Gina Carano. You could see the stunt choreography. Of course, the editing should make them seamless but it really takes talented stunt actors to make the scenes realistic.

      • st says:

        I didn’t find her movement in Mad Max convincing at all. I actually think she moved in a very stiff manner. As for the Atomic Blonde trailer, the fight scenes look fake. I’m torn about seeing this because I feel I need to support women in this kind of movie so that more will be made.

      • Berlin says:

        You should watch the clips on YouTube of her preparing for the role with her trainers.
        They said she could do 20 moves without cutting from the scene. She was awesome and did all the work herself. She trained, like 4 months straight every day to learn how to fight. You have to watch the clips of her training to see what I mean. Even her stunt/trainer said how blown away he was by her ability and how he wasn’t expecting her to be that good but was really surprised.

  4. magnoliarose says:

    I love Charlize and I like James with his adorable Scottish accent. The trailer looks promising. I like that Charlize is a good actress and doesn’t have to just rely on the action to carry the film.

  5. ArchieGoodwin says:

    I love James McAvoy. So eloquent and well spoken, he chooses his words with care.

    But! I won’t bother with this movie. Been there, done that, don’t like Theron particularly.

    • Jerusha says:

      Did you see him on Colbert the other night? He told a funny story about shaving his balls with his grandpa’s razor. He was charming.

    • Geekychick says:

      I adore McAvoy, although I was kinda disappointed with the divorce (not my bussiness, but he was the charming Scott with a charming wife from his early days, one of the last ones in HW), but I just can’t with Charlize. I don’t see her acting as something very special, I’m not motivated to go to the movies when I see her in a trailer. and by rumors and Penn connection, I actually think she’s not an icy super-tough person, I think she’s just an a**hole.

  6. lightpurple says:

    Just going to be quietly happy about three days of Alien Beauty and now, James MacAvoy.

  7. Lucy says:

    I LOOOOOVE HIM. I. Love. Him.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Me, too, Lucy; me, too.

    • BritAfrica says:

      I love him too! And yippee (yes, I just said that!), I am seeing AB with my sister next Friday – can’t wait! :-)

      Saw him at Trafalgar Studios a few years ago playing Macbeth (with Claire Foy back in the days when nobody knew who she was!) and that was it.

      He is such a great and generous actor – very very intense! I left the theatre with him in my head and found myself watching X-Men first class the next day. Me! Watching Marvel productions for heavens sake!

      Top actor.

    • Bug says:

      Me too!

  8. Diana B says:

    McAvettes united. James is such a lovely guy, handsome and talented. What more could you want? Charlize is badass, nothing to add there.

    • Mia4s says:

      Lovely yes, I just wish I didn’t have to side-eye the timing of the end of his marriage ( although he mentioned his girlfriend on Colbert and I think it’s the same one he’s been with all along). Although if I side-eyed every Hollywood actor in that situation I’d probably have permanent eye damage. Sigh…moving on.

      • ichsi says:

        I was pretty bummed out by the divorce too, but after I’ve done some digging (completely healthy, not obsessed or creepy at all, lalalala) I’m pretty confident that Anne-Marie and he had ended it long before they announced the divorce, even before he met Lisa.

  9. Tan says:

    Not just hw
    Most men prefer women to a second fiddle position

  10. Nareeman says:

    The movie is done by the same team ( of stuntmen turn directors) who did john wick…. Their touch is in the extensive training where they give the action actor a library of movements to master, then when filming, they twerk the choreography. She trained with keanu when he was training for john wick chapter two.

    • hmmm says:

      That’s all I wanted to hear. Thanks! Now I’m definitely going to see it. I’m excited!
      Also, he’s irresistible, so, major bonus for me.

  11. Slowsnow says:

    This is perfect for Charlize’s cranky acting! I have said this before: I find her one-tone duck-lip cranky acting superb but she is a one-cord player.

    On another note, I cannot bring myself to like violent films such as these. I hate violence as entertainment. I know it’s probably stupid but I can’t see the fun of it.
    Edit: I loved Mad Max. But it was a formidable, outrageaously fabulous sequence of technical imagery in a dystopian future. These chase scenes that never happen in real life are so artificial and needlessly gory to me. IDK

  12. MiaSophia says:

    Why do I always feel like Charlize Theron is trying to sell me on “Look, I’m a dancer” just way too desperately? It’s in every interview—ever. And while she’s large and long-limbed, she’s never struck me as particularly graceful. Though no one could ever deny the beauty of that face. She’s never been an actor favorite of mine although I did enjoy her in Arrested Development of all things! She showed a sweet goofiness I would never have thought her capable of and would like to see again.

    James McAvoy–you OTOH, are divine.

    • slowsnow says:

      Have you seen her in Young Adult? She is brilliant and brilliantly cranky ;-)
      Underrated film IMO.

      • Alex says:

        I loved that movie!! She was great, so relatable…did I say I loved young adult?? Thank you for mentioning it, I am going to watch it tonite, actually today.

  13. Dee Kay says:

    I love it when men give leading women their due and don’t mind being supporting. I think Chris Pine did an admirable job of this on the WW press tour, when Gal Gadot got asked 90% of the questions (as she should have — she was the badass lead in a film named for her character), even though Pine was far more famous before. Watching him nod and just reinforce whatever Gadot said made me think, Geez louise, that’s what *women* have to do so much of the time in these press junkets. There is an art to being a good supporting player and most actresses have mastered it, so it’s nice to see when male actors totally understand and can do that role well, too.

    Another pro-Pine comment: for whatever it’s worth, two female directors have been given $100M+ budgets for movies: Patty Jenkins for WW and Ava DuVernay for Wrinkle in Time. Both directors cast Chris Pine. I think that must say that, at the least, he’s not an asshole to women. I’m guessing that women directors with big budgets who have their pick of male actors are voting, with their film’s dollars, for men who respect, trust, listen to, and can take orders from women, and Pine must be that kind of man.

    Just a quick note on the hate for Tom Hardy on Mad Max: for whatever it’s worth, both George Miller and Charlize Theron seem to have completely forgiven him for on-set hijinks, b/c the film turned out so great. Hardy and Theron said great things about each other in the press tour (which was two years after principal shooting so maybe time heals all wounds etc.) and when VF did an interview with her, Theron showed the reporter a drawing (self-portrait) Hardy had given her after shooting was over that said “You are a fucking nightmare and also I will kind of miss you” or something like that. To me, that means that their shoot was extremely difficult but they came out of it with mutual respect as film performers, acknowledging that they will never ever be besties. I don’t think there’s anything close to hatred there.

  14. Svea says:

    Don’t like him since he ditched his wife and child to party with a PA.

  15. Berlin says:

    Charlize training for the role:

    She is the real deal.

  16. Dissa says:

    She was on Stern recently promoting this movie and absolutely gushed over a date she had a month ago.

    They hiked at night. He was charming, funny …

    Suspecting McAvoy

  17. Beer&Crumpets says:

    I don’t like going to the movies because I’m ate up with ADHD and it’s really hard for me to sit still through out a whole movie. I’m gonna have to go see this one, though. I’m not a CT fan… I don’t hate her or anything, I just… dont really care about her one way or the other. But she looks like a straight fucking savage in this, so I’m going. I checked out the video of her practicing and goddamn if she doesn’t look like she’s beating the ever-loving shit out of everyone she sees!