Sunday, August 13, 2006

Charlize Theron: Falling angel

By the age of 28, Charlize Theron had survived a violent childhood and won an Oscar for her astonishing portrayal of a serial killer. But since then, one of Hollywood's brightest actresses has struggled.

Charlize Theron will be at the Edinburgh Festival on Thursday, answering questions on stage - if you are anywhere in the vicinity, you should be there, for Theron, at five feet and nine-and-a-half inches, is one of the spectacles of the world. If there's a question time - and she's as much of a sport as usual - I dare you to ask the question, "Charlize, how much longer is all this going to continue?" I know, she still seems like a newcomer. But she knows how easily the new face turns unduly familiar.

Somehow or other, Theron has to do something similar to Nicole Kidman's achievement after the latter's marriage to Tom Cruise ended. She has to seize parts that say, I chose these, I found them, I told them I could do it, and look, it works. What that means is that she has to go find the parts, know how to secure them and make her will felt strongly enough that they turn out unusual and good films. That so many actresses do ordinary work is testament to how tough that challenge is. Most of them do what they can get and spin it out until 40, if they're lucky.

Spare a thought for Charlize Theron, and actresses like her, as she makes a splash in Edinburgh this week. She's looking for something wonderful or monstrous - not much else is going to be in the running. And, like the sudden violence and horror she experienced when she was a kid, she is betting that some magic will come into her life.


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