Charlize Theron: A Complete Guide To The Films Of Our 'Atomic Blonde'

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It's tough to find an actress like Charlize Theron, who has been more willing to stretch herself, mold her look and fit into the persona of a character rather than the other way around. Born August 7, 1975 in South Africa, Charlize is the sort of beauty that is more likely to be walking a runway than undergoing the physical rigors required by a film like her latest one, Atomic Blonde. But as it turns out, she’s actually done both.

 

The road wasn’t an easy one. As she has publicly discussed, her father was an abusive alcoholic who would lash out physically at both Charlize and her mother, all of which resulted in her mother shooting and killing him in self defense. That was in 1991, strangely enough the same year that Charlize won, in a local competition, a one-year modeling contract. A year later, she and her mother moved to the United States, living in Miami and New York.

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At the time, she dreamed of being a dancer, and eventually attended the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, but a knee injury brought that dream to an end. Falling into a depression, her mother warned her she had better snap out of it or they would head back to South Africa so she could “sulk” there.

 

Using a one-way ticket to Los Angeles her mother bought, Charlize decided to give it her all. Shortly after arriving, she got into an argument with a bank teller who refused to cash a check for her. This was witnessed by a talent agent who saw something special and signed her up. In 1995 she scored a non-speaking part in Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest, but did a lot with a minor role in the following year’s 2 Days In The Valley. From there, the roles started getting larger and more important, and Charlize has been working ever since, even managing to win an Academy Award for Best Actress along the way.

She’s frequently viewed as a chameleon of an actress, able to slip into virtually any genre that she chooses to. For proof of that, look no further than FHM’s guide to her entire film career, which takes you from Children Of The Corn III all the way through next year’s Gringo.

Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)

Two brothers, formerly of the murderous children's cult of Gatlin Nebraska, are taken to Chicago by an unwitting couple. (IMDB). Charlize’s role is uncredited.

2 Days In The Valley (1996)

Dosmo Pizzo (Danny Aiello), an ordinary guy, finds himself involved in a murder-for-hire scheme. He is betrayed by his partner, the strangely serene Lee Woods (James Spader), who leaves him for dead. Suspecting that Woods will come back to finish him, Dosmo takes an obnoxious art dealer (Greg Cruttwell) and his sweet-natured assistant (Glenne Headly) hostage. Meanwhile, a rookie policeman (Eric Stoltz) investigating the murder begins to suspect that some kind of conspiracy is behind it. (Google)

That Thing You Do (1996)

Wily band manager Mr. White helps a small town band achieve big time success when they release a Beatles-style pop song in 1964. Pennsylvania band the "Oneders" become a sensation after their drummer breaks his arm, and is replaced by jazz enthusiast, Guy Patterson, who injects something a bit different into their music. (Google)

Trial And Error (1997)

Lawyer Charlie (Jeff Daniels) is sent by his boss (Lawrence Pressman) to a small Nevada town to file a continuance request for mail-order con man Benjamin Gibbs (Rip Torn). Charlie's actor friend, Richard (Michael Richards), turns up to throw a surprise bachelor party celebrating Charlie's upcoming marriage to the boss's daughter (Alexandra Wentworth). When Charlie is too hung over to make it to court for the hearing, Richard fills in -- and must continue impersonating him for the whole trial. (Google)

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The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

Aspiring Florida defense lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) accepts a high-powered position at a New York law firm headed by legal shark John Milton (Al Pacino). As Kevin moves up in the firm's ranks, his wife, Mary Ann (Charlize Theron), has several frightening, mystical experiences that begin to warp her sense of reality. With the stakes getting higher with each case, Kevin quickly learns that his mentor is planning a far greater evil than simply winning without scruples. (Google)

Celebrity (1998)

The career and personal life of writer Lee (Kenneth Branagh) are at a standstill, so he divorces his bashful wife, Robin (Judy Davis), and dives into a new job as an entertainment journalist. His assignments take him to the swankiest corners of Manhattan, but as he jumps from one lavish party to another and engages in numerous empty romances, he starts to doubt the worth of his work. Meanwhile, top TV producer Tony (Joe Mantegna) falls for Robin and introduces her to the world of celebrity. (Google)

Mighty Joe Young (1998)

As a child living in Africa, Jill Young (Charlize Theron) saw her mother killed while protecting wild gorillas from poachers led by Andrei Strasser (Rade Serbedzija). Now an adult, Jill cares for an orphaned gorilla named Joe -- who, due to a genetic anomaly, is 15 feet tall. When Gregg O'Hara (Bill Paxton) arrives from California and sees the animal, he convinces Jill that Joe would be safest at his wildlife refuge. But Strasser follows them to the U.S., intent on capturing Joe for himself. (Google)

The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)

When astronaut Spencer Armacost (Johnny Depp) returns to Earth after a mission that nearly cost him his life, he decides to take a desk job in order to see his beautiful wife, Jillian (Charlize Theron), more often. Gradually, Jillian notices that Spencer's personality seems to have changed, but her concerns fade when she discovers that she's pregnant. As Jillian grows closer to becoming a mother, her suspicions about Spencer return. Why does it seem as if he's a different person? (Google)

The Cider House Rules (1999)

The film follows the life of Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire), a precocious orphan who leaves his lifelong home and his loving tutor, Dr. Larch (Michael Caine) to explore the world. While Homer struggles to make a life for himself on his own, he must make monumental decisions that will change the course of his future and deeply affect the lives of those around him. (Google)

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Reindeer Games (2000)

Just released from prison, all Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) wants is to start a new life with Ashley (Charlize Theron), the girl of his dreams, whom he met through pen pal letters in prison. But between them and happiness stands her crazy brother, Gabriel (Gary Sinise), and his motley crue of deadly criminals who think Rudy has some inside information about a casino where he once had a job -- a casino Gabriel and his short-fused posse plan to take down. (Google)

The Yards (2000)

After serving time in prison for taking the fall for a group of his friends, Leo just wants to get his life back on track. So he goes to the one place he thinks will be safe -- home. There he takes a new job with his highly connected and influential uncle. But in the yards, where his uncle now pulls the strings, safe is not how they do business. Unwittingly, he's drawn into a world of sabotage, high stakes payoffs and even murder. (Google)

The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

During the Great Depression, Georgia socialite Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) announces a publicity-garnering high-stakes match at her struggling family golf course, featuring the greatest golfers of the era. Once-promising local golfer Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon), whose career and life were derailed by World War I, is brought in to play alongside the stars, but his game is weak -- until the enigmatic Bagger Vance (Will Smith) offers to coach him back into the great golfer he once was. (Google)

Men Of Honor (2000)

Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is an ambitious sharecropper who joins the U.S. Navy to become the world's first black master diver. But as he works through diving training, the bitter and racist Master Chief Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro) sets out to make Carl's journey as difficult as possible. Despite the entire Navy doubting his potential and sabotaging his training, the determined Carl proves that he can overcome the discrimination around him. (Google)

Sweet November (2001)

Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) and Sara Deever (Charlize Theron) have nothing in common except an hour spent in DMV hell. Intrigued by each other, but not quite ready to commit, they settle on a rather unconventional courtship: a one-month trial, after which they'll go their separate ways. No expectations. No pressure. No strings attached. What neither of them counts on is falling in love. (Google)

15 Minutes (2001)

At the center of "15 Minutes" is a New York City double murder that must be solved. But the fast-paced story isn't so much about figuring out the truth of the murder, as following who controls that truth. This is the thriller as seen through an eye-popping new lens -- that of the media's hunt for shocking imagery, no matter the cost. In "15 Minutes," as the cops chase the murderers, the media chases the cops, and the whole thing fuels an escalating firestorm. (Google)

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The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion (2001)

Woody Allen stars as CW Briggs, the top insurance investigator in New York in 1940-or so he keeps telling the firm's new efficiency expert, Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt). Briggs prides himself on being able to crack any insurance caper by getting into the mind of the thief, but now, thanks to the hypnotic powers of the Jade Scorpion, the mind of a thief is getting into Briggs. (Google)

Trapped (2002)

When Will (Stuart Townsend) and Karen (Charlize Theron) Jennings are held hostage and their daughter is abducted, a relentless plan is set in motion that will challenge everything they took for granted. Joe (Kevin Bacon) and Cheryl (Courtney Love) Hickey, along with their cousin Marvin (Pruitt Taylor Vince), have orchestrated the foolproof plan to extort money from wealthy families. As the plan escalates and unravels, Will and Karen are pushed to the limit to get their daughter back alive. (Google)

Waking Up In Reno (2002)

Candy (Charlize Theron) and Lonnie Earl (Billy Bob Thornton) are just crazy about each other. The problem: she's married to Roy (Patrick Swayze) and he's married to Darlene (Natasha Richardson). So far it's been a secret affair. But that's about to change, because this foursome is driving cross-country and headed for some big surprises. (Google)

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The Italian Job (2003)

After a heist in Venice, Steve (Edward Norton) turns on his partners in crime, killing safecracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) and keeping all the gold for himself. The rest of the team, including leader Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg), driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), explosives man Left Ear (Mos Def) and tech geek Lyle (Seth Green), vows revenge. They enlist the help of Bridger's daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron), and plot to recover the gold from Steve's Los Angeles mansion. (Google)

Monster (2003)

Shortly after moving to Florida, longtime prostitute Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) meets young and reserved Selby Wall (Christina Ricci) and a romance blossoms. When a john (Lee Tergesen) attempts to brutalize Aileen, she kills him and resolves to give up prostitution. But supporting herself and her new girlfriend through legitimate means proves extremely difficult, and she soon falls back on old ways. More johns die, and Selby can't help but think her new friend is responsible. (Google) Charlize took home the Academy Award for this one in the category of Best Actress.

Head In The Clouds (2004)

Gilda Besse (Charlize Theron) is a rising photographer living in Paris in the 1930s. She invites Guy Malyon (Stuart Townsend), an Irish intellectual, and Mia (Penélope Cruz), a Spanish refugee, to share her apartment. The trio forms a unique romantic bond. But as World War II begins spreading across Europe, their bond is broken when Guy and Mia decide to leave to serve in the war effort, and Gilda chooses to stay in Paris to pursue her career and maintain her bohemian lifestyle. (Google)

The Life And Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

A biographical film about Peter Sellers' turbulent rise from popular BBC radio performer to one of the world's most gifted comedic actors. Propelled by an overly possessive mother, Sellers struggled to reconcile his relationship with women, his celebrity status and his many selves. (Google)

North Country (2005)

Single mother Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) is part of a group of the first women to work at a local iron mine in Minnesota. Offended that they have to work with women, male workers at Eveleth Mines lash out at them and subject them to sexual harassment. Appalled by the constant stream of insults, sexually explicit language and physical abuse, Josey -- despite being cautioned against it by family and friends -- files a historic sexual harassment lawsuit. (Google)

AEon Flux (2005)

In the 25th century, the Earth's population has dwindled to a surviving five million following a devastating virus that almost resulted in the extinction of all human life 400 years earlier. Confined to one city-state, a group of rebels, led by Handler (Frances McDormand), seeks to destroy the oppressive government -- first, by assassinating a high-ranking chairman (Marton Csokas). Tasked with this mission, Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) must integrate herself in a world of deceit and mystery. (Google)

In The Valley Of Elah (2007)

A police detective (Charlize Theron) helps a retired Army sergeant (Tommy Lee Jones) search for his son, a soldier who went missing soon after returning from Iraq. Hank Deerfield, a Vietnam War veteran, learns that his son may have met with foul play after a night on the town with members of his platoon. (Google)

Battle In Seattle (2007)

In 1999, members of the World Trade Organization arrive in Seattle for negotiations that are closed to the public. Concerned about globalization, activists Jay (Martin Henderson), Lou (Michelle Rodriguez) and Django (André Benjamin) prepare for peaceful protests. Trying to prevent potential violence, Mayor Tobin (Ray Liotta) attempts to coordinate the police to avoid chaos. When a small group of unruly activists begins wreaking havoc, the planned marches quickly turn to riots. (Google)

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Sleepwalking (2008)

When her boyfriend is arrested for marijuana possession, Joleen Reedy (Charlize Theron) and her 11-year-old daughter, Tara (AnnaSophia Robb), take refuge with Joleen's aimless brother, James (Nick Stahl). Joleen soon runs off with a truck driver, and James is unable to meet his responsibilities. After Child Protective Services takes possession of Tara, James abducts her from a foster home, and the two travel from California to Utah, where his abusive father (Dennis Hopper) lives.

Hancock (2008)

A scruffy superhero named Hancock (Will Smith) protects the citizens of Los Angeles but leaves horrendous collateral damage in the wake of every well-intentioned feat. That's OK with Hancock; he doesn't care what people think and is just as likely to be found dozing on a park bench as saving a damsel in distress. However, after saving the life of a PR executive (Jason Bateman) and meeting the man's beautiful wife (Charlize Theron), he realizes that he may have a sensitive side after all. (Google)

The Burning Plain (2008)

In the present, Sylvia (Charlize Theron) appears to lead a confident life as a restaurant manager but she cleverly hides her promiscuity, self-mutilation, and suicidal impulses. In the past a young girl named Mariana (Jennifer Lawrence) tries to figure out why her mother (Kim Basinger) began an affair as she enters into a relationship with the son of her mother's lover. The threads of these dysfunctional lives are increasingly tied into a potent knot. (Google)

The Road (2009)

America is a grim, gray shadow of itself after a catastrophe. A man (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) wander through this post-apocalyptic world, trying to keep the dream of civilization alive. They journey toward the sea, surviving as best they can on what they can scavenge, and try to avoid roving gangs of savage humans who will turn them into slaves, or worse. (Google) Charlize is credited as “woman” in this one.

Young Adult (2011)

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a successful writer of teen literature who returns to her hometown with a dual mission: to relive her glory days and steal away her now-married high-school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). However, her mission does not go exactly to plan, and she finds her homecoming more problematic than she expected. Instead, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Patton Oswalt), who has also found it difficult to move past high school. (Google)

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Snow White And The Huntsman (2012)

Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who seized control of her kingdom by marrying and killing its rightful ruler, needs the life force of young maidens to maintain her beauty. However, to become truly immortal, Ravenna must consume the heart of her stepdaughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart). Snow escapes, and Ravenna dispatches a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to capture her. But Snow, the Huntsman and a rebel army join forces to destroy Ravenna and restore the balance of life and death. (Google)

Prometheus (2012)

The discovery of a clue to mankind's origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of the universe. Two brilliant young scientists lead the expedition. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) hopes that they will meet a race of benevolent, godlike beings who will in some way verify her religious beliefs, while Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) is out to debunk any spiritual notions. However, neither the scientists nor their shipmates are prepared for the unimaginable terrors that await them. (Google)

A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014)

Mild-mannered sheep farmer Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane) feels certain that the Western frontier is trying to kill him, then he loses his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried), to the town's most successful businessman. However, a beautiful, pistol-packing woman named Anna (Charlize Theron) rides into town and helps Albert find his inner courage. Then Stark must put his newfound bravery to the test when Anna's outlaw husband arrives with plans to plant him in an unmarked grave. (Google)

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When the warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) leads the despot's five wives in a daring escape, she forges an alliance with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a loner and former captive. Fortified in the massive, armored truck the War Rig, they try to outrun the ruthless warlord and his henchmen in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland. (Google)

Dark Places (2015)

A woman (Charlize Theron) confronts traumatic, childhood memories of the murder of her mother and two sisters when she investigates the possibility that her brother (Corey Stoll) is innocent of the crime. (Google)

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

Betrayed by her evil sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron), heartbroken Freya (Emily Blunt) retreats to a northern kingdom to raise an army of huntsmen as her protectors. Gifted with the ability to freeze her enemies in ice, Freya teaches her young soldiers to never fall in love. When Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and fellow warrior Sara defy this rule, the angry queen does whatever she can to stop them. As war between the siblings escalates, Eric and Sara try to end Ravenna's wicked reign. (Google)

The Last Face (2016)

Miguel (Javier Bardem), a Spanish doctor, puts himself in harm's way to deliver medical treatment to the victims of military uprisings. Wren (Charlize Theron) is the spokesperson for an organization that funds medical assistance for impoverished nations the world over. They meet in Liberia, where Wren is immediately impressed with Miguel's selflessness, medical skill and charm. They begin a torrid affair, one they must learn to balance with their important work. (Google)

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The Fate Of The Furious (2017)

With Dom and Letty married, Brian and Mia retired and the rest of the crew exonerated, the globe-trotting team has found some semblance of a normal life. They soon face an unexpected challenge when a mysterious woman named Cipher forces Dom to betray them all. Now, they must unite to bring home the man who made them a family and stop Cipher from unleashing chaos. (Google)

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on an impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to retrieve a priceless dossier from within the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through a deadly game of spies. (Google)

Gringo (2018)

A mild-mannered American businessman finds himself in over his head after traveling to Mexico. He soon crosses the line from citizen to criminal while tangling with shady colleagues, international mercenaries, drug lords and the DEA. (Google)

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