Fast & Furious 8 is out now in Cineworld and boasts an exciting, attention-grabbing newcomer to the series – none other than Oscar-winner Charlize Theron. Starring as a criminal mastermind named Cipher, Theron is the latest big name to jump about the eight-film-strong franchise.
With this in mind, we thought it was the right time to look back at Charlize Theron’s 20-year movie career and pick out our favourite roles…
Best Real-Life Portrayal – Aileen Wuornos, Monster
Charlize wasn’t an obvious choice to play real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos – the World’s Most Beautiful Woman(™) playing this white trash man-murderer? But Theron gained 30 pounds for the role, shaved her eyebrows and wore prosthetic teeth, and ended up with an Academy Award for her efforts. Noted film critic Roger Ebert said of her performance, "What Charlize Theron achieves in Patty Jenkins' Monster isn't a performance but an embodiment... [It] is one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema." We can't disagree.
Best Action Performance – Imperator Furiosa, Mad Max, Fury Road
Charlize has enjoyed her fair share of action movie roles, including the sci-fier Æon Flux and upcoming spy drama Atomic Blonde, but her turn as the ass-kicking Imperator Furiosa in George Miller’s explosive Mad Max: Fury Road is career-defining. In fact, though it’s called a Mad Max film, it’s arguably more of a Furiosa movie and the character received much praise for being a strong female action heroine and bringing feminist themes to the three decades old franchise.
Best Mid-Life Crisis Performance – Mavis Gary, Young Adult
Mavis Gary was once her home town’s ‘It girl’, but now, at 37, she’s an alcoholic divorcee who returns home to write the final book in her just-cancelled series of young adult novels. Diablo Cody’s hilarious and bittersweet story of a woman going back to her roots and discovering old friendships are forever is an underrated gem, and Charlize is fantastically unpleasant as the self-destructive and selfish Mavis.
Best Comedy Performance – Anna Barnes-Leatherwood, A Million Ways To Die in the West
Charlize hasn’t lent her talents to many comedy flicks, and you’ve gotta ask why, on the strength of her hilarious turn in Seth MacFarlane’s rollicking comic Western, A Million Ways To Die in the West. As Anna, the gun-totin’ wife of the movie’s bad guy (played by a devilish Liam Neeson) Theron is infectiously charming and funny, and it’s just a shame she hasn’t dipped her toes in comedy waters since.
Best-Dressed Award – Snow White and the Huntsman
Charlize has, over the course of her career, been dolled up in some jaw-dropping costumes, but none are quite as breathtaking as her get-up as Snow White’s evil stepmom, Queen Ravenna in this revisionist take on the age-old fairy tale. Full marks to Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood for fashioning some truly wowsome frocks for the Queen, even done to the rather more gruesome ones she wears towards the end of the movie.
Best Villain Performance – Meredith Vickers, Prometheus
A rare villainous role on Charlize Theron’s lengthy CV, Meredith Vickers is an employee of the Weyland Corporation who is sent to monitor the expedition to the moon LV-223. In fact, Theron plays Vickers as so cold, that it looks, initially, like she may be an android. But no, she’s just an cold-hearted ice queen. Sadly, Vickers was crushed to death at the end of the movie, so won’t be back for the sequel, Alien: Covenant.
Best Performance of an Unnamed Character – Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
Charlize Theron’s feature film debut was in this Direct-to-Video cheapie in 1995, a forgettable entry in the once-great Children of the Corn horror franchise. Credited only as “Eli’s follower”, and with only one of dialogue (if you can call "Ahhhhh!!!” dialogue), she’s got oodles more star quality than the appointed leads, who both disappeared without a trace…
Best Small-Screen Performance – Rita Lees, Arrested Development
She may not have paraded her comedy chops too often on the big screen, but she was totally scene-stealing as the ditzy English heiress Rita Lees in five episodes of the cult sitcom Arrested Development. Rita was sadly absent for the Netflix revival series, but Theron is apparently hopeful of being asked back for the mooted feature film version. "I would love to, but I also don’t want to crash the party," she said recently. "I think those characters are so great, but yeah, if they wanted me to come by for a day, I’d love to do that. And if they paid me well because, you know, that’s important too!"
What’s your favourite Charlize Theron role? Let us know @Cineworld.
You can see Charlize in Fast & Furious 8 from today.