Charlize Theron had to do 6 weeks more car training for Italian Job than the men

We all know that Charlize Theron is an action genre badass. I have been a fan of Charlize’s forever. She pushes boundaries and masters roles typically reserved for male actors. However that can come with the misogynistic price of having to prove she belongs.

In a recent Comic Con@Home interview, Charlize revealed that she had to do an extra six more weeks of stunt training for the Italian Job’s 2003 remake than her male co-stars. As a result she was able do her stunts so much better than the other actors and it was gratifying.

Take for instance, the 2003 remake of “The Italian Job,” for which Theron recently revealed she was scheduled to train for six weeks longer than her male co-stars, including Wahlberg, Jason Statham and Edward Norton.

“There was a real pressure to pull off those stunts with the actors. … There was a very unfair process that went with that,” Theron said in a Comic-Con at Home career retrospective Friday. “I was the only woman with a bunch of guys, and I remember vividly getting the schedule in our preproduction, and they had scheduled me for six weeks more car training than any of the guys. It was just so insulting.”

The discrepancy in their preproduction schedules “put a real fire under my ass,” Theron said, which made seeing her male co-stars struggle on-set that much more gratifying.

“I was, like, ‘All right, you guys want to play this game, let’s go,’” she recalled. “I made it a point to out-drive all of those guys. I vividly remember Mark Wahlberg, halfway through one of our training sessions, pulling over and throwing up because he was so nauseous from doing 360s.”

The heist thriller’s most memorable action set-pieces feature the cast as they drive a fleet of Mini Coopers through various global locales. Theron recalled being particularly proud of maneuvering the vehicle for one stunt in “a reverse 360 or maybe 180 in a warehouse with props everywhere.”

“I did that stunt completely on my own,” she said. “It was a huge moment for feeling, like, ‘Yeah, we can do all this stuff, and women are so unfairly thought of or treated in genre.’”

The experience filming “The Italian Job” helped Theron come to terms with the “misconception around women” in action films, propelling her to seek out and create roles in big-budget projects such as “Aeon Flux,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Atomic Blonde” in order to upset the norm.

“When I started my action career, it was so important to sell the authenticity of, ‘Yes, I can fight, and I can take this guy down, and I can survive this,’” Theron said. “There was such a level of wanting to prove that to audiences who for years said, ‘No, a woman could never fight a guy that size.’

[From Huffington Post]

It’s unfair that Charlize had to spend an extra six weeks longer in car training than her male counterparts. There was more pressure put on her to nail the stunts, but Charlize held her own and her male costars couldn’t keep up with her. Seventeen years later, she is still dispelling prejudices by being one of the top female badasses in the genre.

It seems obvious that Charlize wants to flip the script on how women are portrayed in movies, particularly in big-budget action flicks. She’s choosing and creating roles where women save themselves and aren’t secondary to the male roles. I love action films but have grown tired of women being pushed into flat characters who need to be rescued or who bring the protagonist down. Hopefully we will see more women helming action films not only as leads but as directors and creators.




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28 Responses to “Charlize Theron had to do 6 weeks more car training for Italian Job than the men”

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  1. Leducduswaz says:

    To be fair, American cars do have the driver’s seat on the wrong side, so maybe they figured that she needed to get used to driving wrong. 😉

    • Little Termagant says:

      Or….another way to look at it… they allowed the men to train for 6 weeks less than was required to do a good job….

    • Mia says:

      Wonder why Mark W.and Norton didn’t need those extra weeks as well. Since they’re also Americans, js

    • raindrop says:

      Charlize is South African.

    • bananapanda says:

      Then Statham should have needed the training too.

      Also, Charlize is taller than Mark W. and Jason S. and probably Mos Def, too.

  2. Feedmechips says:

    I respect Charlize. She’s def a badass.

  3. LoonaticCap says:

    I’ve loved her for a long time. Since Sweet November that made me cry every time and Devil’s Advocate that was so twisted for my teenage self.
    I think she is so badass. The fact that she’s south african just makes me a tiny bit prouder even though her life is very far from this side of the world.
    It’s infuriating that we have to work so mych harder to be seen as capable. But she’s here breaking boundaries. I wish Angelina had kept going with her action career, they could both be powerhouses in the genre right now but i feel like AJ is more drawn to war movies and tragedies and well. Blockbusters.

    Anyway nice interview.

    • Sierra says:

      Actually Angelina’s next two releases are Eternals and Those who wish me dead.

      She is a prime Eternal so lots of action and it is a Marvel movie.

      Those who wish me dead, she is a survival expert trying to keep a boy safe from killers. Going to be ram packed with action.

      I would so love it if Angelina & Charlize did a movie together, something like Salt 2.

  4. EMc says:

    I can’t remember the movie very well, but devils advocate- maybe the male actors already had some training in previous roles? I know Jason Statham does a dozen of those types of movies a year it seems.

    Regardless, her perception was that it was unfair so it probably was. Good on her for speaking out. She continues to be a badas$ and set an awesome example for women and girls.

    • lucy2 says:

      Possible, but I would think for insurance reasons, there’s a set minimum for all of the actors, and I think her perception of being given extra because she’s a woman was spot on.
      Clearly Marky Mark wasn’t previously trained too well if he was stopping to throw up!

      I’ve always liked her as an actress, but have come to really love her in recent years, now that she’s doing more and more action films. She’s so believable in the roles.

    • SM says:

      I would say that all co start driving cars should have gotten more trining time as the level of stunts Charlize was able to pull proves. I wonder if payment disparities played a part why the male co-stars did not get additional six weeks of work, equally as widespread assumption that women are worse drivers than men.

  5. Grant says:

    ITA. Action is, probably, my favorite movie genre. But the best action movies are the ones that pass the Bechdel test, where women are not relegated to the sidelines to play supporting characters meant to serve as props for the male hero. I’m thinking of Mad Max: Fury Road, Atomic Blonde, Wonder Woman, Avengers:Endgame… I think we are in the golden age of action movies due in large part to the fact that audiences (and executives) are realizing that female action heroines are just as compelling (if not moreso) than their XY peers.

    • Sierra says:

      Alien, Salt, Terminator 2..

      • lucy2 says:

        Alien, yes, but T2 pretty much only had Linda in it, no other women? And I haven’t seen Salt but the cast list looks the same. Bechdel test is for two women characters to have a conversation that doesn’t involve or discuss a man, which is hard to do if you’re the only woman character.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      have you seen Old Guard yet? because, if not, it’s right up your alley.

  6. Jess says:

    I love her more every day! Good for her being so vocal calling out all of this BS. I also really love the little bid of shade thrown at Marky Mark (whom I cannot stand for so many reasons, but his hate crimes top the list), who literally thinks he’s so tough because he plays a tough guy in movies. I’m re-watching the Old Guard this weekend – I am obsessed with that movie!

    • dj says:

      Yes. The more I read re: Wahlberg the less I like him. The Old Guard is a really unexpectedly good movie. Also, saw a bit of an interview with her on Seth Myers speaking about this movie and how many women were on cast, writers & director. She said it was so different and better movie-making experience. I could tell the difference in the characters and their development. There is a part (without giving any spoilers away) where someone talks about their love for another person…It is the MOST beautifully, written, dialogue but also acted so well…it is swoon worthy for me! Check it out.

  7. Mentos_fresh says:

    Watched old guard and loved it, my sisters and I now have girl crushes on Charlize.
    Smart move by Netflix to cast her, shes attractive to guys and girl viewers because she’s perfect at playing strong female character who’re badass without being overtly sexualised (you know wearing sexy corsets or unnecessary nudity🙄). It was refreshing having such a healthy character and can’t wait for next movie.

  8. detritus says:

    Get it Charlize.
    I love that Mark puked from the 360s and Charlize was just fine. Maybe Mark should have had some extra training hmmm? Make it based on skill and not gender? No that’s just too crazy

  9. TrixC says:

    I love Charlize, and I think she’s so underrated as an actress, she elevates everything she’s in.

    Although I think some people are going to puke from doing 360s no matter how much training they do. I know I would. I don’t think you can train away motion sickness.

  10. Sarah says:

    I really enjoyed Atomic Blond and may re-watch Old Guard tonight as it was brilliant and I loved her in it.

    • Sarah says:

      Actually if Atomic Blond is still on one of our streaming services I may re-watch that too. Go Charlize.

  11. Alyse says:

    She’s great.
    I remember she used to be one of those Actresses that (say about 10 years ago) used to have “a bit difficult” labels thrown around her a bit… which we now know mostly means she wasn’t taking crap. I respect her so much.

    • Louise says:

      THIS ^^^^^ x 1000. Not only does she not take crap, but I’m pretty sure it was her production company that produced Monster, Atomic Blonde & The Old Guard. ‘YOU won’t make them? Fine. I will.’

  12. Danielle says:

    You all should check out The Old Guard. She is unreal.