AUSTIN (Texas) • It could be a long shot but Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron is still waiting for a part in a Marvel film.
But she did nail a role in a romantic comedy called Long Shot, in which she stars as a presidential candidate opposite Seth Rogen as her speechwriter.
The film opens in the United States on May 3.
Appearing at the recent South by Southwest festival in Texas, she fielded questions about her craft.
Your performance in Monster (2003) was an absolute tour de force. It felt as if you did much more than study serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
It seemed as if you were able to connect with her psyche in some way. Can you talk about your connection to this role a bit more?
I think the more you embed yourself in the information you have access to, the more alive things become underneath your skin.
They executed Aileen on the day I said yes to the film. Patty Jenkins, who wrote and directed, had been writing her letters, but we never had the chance to meet with her.
But her friend (from) her childhood years in Detroit became the custodian of her letters from prison.
She invited us to her house and said: “Look, you can have access to all of it. I’m not sending it to you and I’m not making copies. So Patty and I flew out to Flint, Michigan, and we spent three days in a guest bedroom, reading as many of Aileen’s letters as we possibly could to just try and understand her.
Many actors mention how playing a role can sometimes impact their views on issues in the world. Have any of the roles you have played had that effect on you, and in what way?
Yes, I never really truly understood the difference between empathy and sympathy until I played Aileen. Once I empathised with her, I could understand her actions a little bit more.
And I think it is sometimes a tricky thing to talk about, because we do not want to ever justify this person’s actions. But I remember being done with that movie and walking through my life in this world, travelling, going to Africa, and just really understanding the power of empathy and how, I do not think, we encourage it enough.
You have demonstrated your action-movie cred in about a half-dozen films, but have not yet appeared in a Marvel or DC project. Hard to believe you have not been asked, so what is the story?
That is a question for Marvel. I have met with those guys and we have had some conversations, but I have never been offered anything.
I would totally be open to it.
That genre is becoming really fascinating to me and that kind of physical storytelling is something that I am really enjoying.
So get with it, Marvel.
Is there any physical change you will not make to play a role?
There is nothing so far that a director has asked of me that I have said no to. But for (2018 movie) Tully, I had gained all this weight and it was really, really hard in my 40s to lose it.
I did a lot of damage to my body and I definitely went through a period of full frustration where I was like, I will never do that again.
And then of course I know, if the right material came around, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
How much credit do you give the directors for helping your performance shine?
The majority of it. If I felt like I did not need that or benefit from that, I think I would just be directing my own stuff.
There is something really powerful about working with people, whether it is your director or your cinematographer, your entire crew.
I often imagine them all sitting at a table, and what they each bring in their own expertise that makes what I do so much better.
Any interest in directing?
I feel like probably, but not right now. I have a passion for storytelling and exploring it in many different facets. I can literally see myself getting into production design.
I just love all the tentacles of the process. So yeah, I can see it happening, but there is nothing in the near future that I am imagining.