Our top three Charlize Theron roles
The former model is much more than just a pretty face
Discovered during the midst of an argument with a bank employee in California, South African born former model Charlize Theron is a critically acclaimed actress, yet due to the conventional roles Hollywood churns out for beautiful women (see the Milla Jovovich-lite Aeon Flux, or her generic love interest in The Italian Job remake), she remains an under-appreciated performer. With roles in two of the biggest blockbusters of 2012 (Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman), both on general release next week, we take a look at three of Theron's roles that prove she's more than just a pretty face.
1. Monster – 2003
Theron won a Best Actress Academy Award for this intense portrayal of American serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Gaining 30 pounds in weight and wearing a set of prosthetic teeth for the film, Theron was commended for throwing herself into the part and transforming her appearance to the extent that she’s completely unrecognisable from the familiar glamorous figure on the red carpet. With passion and intensity, Theron makes the audience feel genuine sympathy and compassion for a woman who was convicted and executed for her crimes.
2. Young Adult – 2011
In this gutsy role Theron plays Mavis, an alcoholic writer of fiction for adolescents who returns to her home town in an effort to win back her high school boyfriend. Again Theron completely immerses herself in the character, blundering on through a series of cringe-worthy episodes while remaining completely oblivious to her own failings. Her performance is just as bold here as it was in Monster, conveying a convincing portrayal of the flawed human condition while also bravely pushing blackly comedic boundaries. Cruelly overlooked at last season's award ceremonies, Young Adult was one of the smartest and wittiest films the year.
3. Arrested Development – 2005
Theron guest-starred in five episodes of the short-lived but critically-beloved sitcom. She played Rita Leeds, a mentally disabled Brit and love interest for lead character Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), who mistakes her lower intelligence for lovable naivete. Theron plays the role for laughs but imbued Rita with such sweetness that the whole thing never felt mean-spirited. With a fourth season and film of Arrested Development in the pipeline, could Rita possibly re-emerge in the future?
Snow White and the Huntsman is released on May 30 and Prometheus on June 1.