Charlize Theron has made a somewhat controversial statement in an interview for British GQ’s May 2016 edition. Theron candidly told the magazine what might be construed as the fact that there are no serious or important roles in Hollywood for women who are too pretty, affirming "Jobs with real gravitas go to people that are physically right for them and that’s the end of the story. How many roles are out there for the gorgeous, f***ing, gown-wearing eight-foot model? When meaty roles come through, I’ve been in the room and pretty people get turned away first.”
Theron – who has 48 acting credits under her belt and has an estimated net-worth of $110 million – appeared un-glamourized in the 2005 film North Country, for which she earned an Academy Award Best Actress Nomination, and in the 2015 blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that has had great response from the public and the critics alike, surprising everyone by sweeping the last Academy Awards with 6 Oscars, the most of any film this year. She still looked flawless in both roles.
However, Charlize Theron’s most notorious transformation won her a Best Actress Academy Award on 2004 for her intense portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the movie Monster. Charlize gained 30 pounds, wore prosthetic teeth, shaved off her eyebrows and had makeup that made her skin look blemished and spotty. This make-under and the recognition and acclaim she got for the role would seem to prove what she claims in her statement. However, the fact that she, a gorgeous former model and dancer, was able to play the role, even if she had to change her looks for it, attests that things are not quite as discouraging for attractive people in Hollywood.
It has been much speculated that actors downplay their looks to get awards and recognition, and it would be a lie to say that it has not happened. From Elizabeth Taylor’s overweight and crass Martha in Mike Nichols’s 1966 film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, to Robert DeNiro’s 60 pound gain to play boxer Jack LaMotta in Raging Bull on 1980, actors have been physically transforming themselves for roles for decades. More recently we’ve had Oscar winners Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, George Clooney in Syriana, Nicole Kidman in The Hours, Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyer's Club, among others, showing audiences how far they would go to get a role right.
Personally, I believe that the physical transformation is only a part of the portrayal and that there is an inner transformation as well, which is the real reason behind the awards and recognition. The fact is most of Hollywood stars are extremely good-looking people. It would be wonderful if "not typically beautiful” people could get the opportunities that gorgeous actors have. Let's hope it happens soon.
The 40-year-old South African stunner also talked about the double standard there is regarding how women and men age, saying: “We live in a society where women wilt and men age like fine wine. And, for a long time, women accepted it. We were waiting for society to change, but now we’re taking leadership. It would be a lie to say there is less worry for women as they get older than there is for men... It feels there’s this unrealistic standard of what a woman is supposed to look like when she’s over 40.”
Theron's latest film The Huntsman: Winter's War will be in theaters on April 21st.