Charlize Theron: Wage Gap Fighter, Mad Max Badass & Hollywood Feminist Extraordinaire

charlize-theron-mad-max

No ‘Black Widow’ movie on the horizon? No worries! This year’s badass feminist extravaganza on screen can be found in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and before you roll your eyes and think it is a poor substitute for the female-driven comic book origin blockbuster movie that is well overdue, keep reading.

This movie stars Tom Hardy as the title hero Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, who despite not holding the title of the movie, is certainly holding it down on screen in literally every action scene alongside the formidable max.

And casting Charlize is no token turn either. She is the perfect representation of strong female empowering on screen and off.

By now you are familiar with the Sony email hacks of 2014 which set the film industry on fire, and left certain Sony studio executives literally fired. During the leaks, one of the most controversial topics exposed was the pay inequality between certain male and female stars. There was news that Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence got paid less than Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in ‘American Hustle’ which seems sickening given that J-Law is EASILY the biggest draw card of that film, and by far the biggest A-lister out of that group.

After that shocking news broke, Charlize made headlines for demanding she got paid an equal amount as Chris Hemsworth in her upcoming ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ sequel where she plays the evil queen. It set in motion a series of events that all of a sudden elevated her public status from bonafide Oscar-winning actress and stunning South African beauty, to badass feminist who ain’t playing games when it comes to matters of equality.

In an interview with Elle UK recently, she spoke more about her empowering decisions to take a stand for equal pay and shared other thoughts on what it’s like to be a woman, yes even an A-list actress, in Hollywood.

ELLE-UK-Charlize-Theron

“I have to give them credit because once I asked, they said yes. They did not fight it. And maybe that’s the message: That we just need to put our foot down. This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing,” she said using the opportunity to urge other women to follow in her footsteps.

It’s easy to dwell on the fact that women in the United States today earn only 77c out of every $1 that a man earns for doing the same job, according to statistics from the department of labor. On the same token, while there are a number of factors which unfortunately contribute to the pay disparity, it will take numerous paths to abolishing it, one of those being women knowing how to demand equality and ask for what they are worth.

Feminism is not something Charlize is shying away from, and it is always inspiring to see when a woman experiences a personal victory in the equality department, it makes her more adamant about advocating feminism.

“It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way.”

She even spoke about her feelings once she heard about the ‘American Hustle’ pay disparity for its female stars.

“When I thought about the temperature out there – with finding out what Jennifer and Amy were being paid on a set with guy actors who are their counterparts… They’re just as good as any of the guys on there. Yeah, that p*ssed me off!” she said.

So how does this relate to ‘Mad Max’? The movie which was previously seen as a male-dominated and male-targeted flick has a decidedly different focus, and Charlize is at the center of it. The story follows Max and Furiosa as they seek to rescue a group of young girls, five “wives” of villain warlord Immortan Joe who uses them as “breeders” so he can create a male heir he so desperately wants.

Instead of Max being the alpha male this type of film normally demands, we see Charlize being the alpha female in a story that wouldn’t work with a man in her role, according to Director George Miller.

“You couldn’t have a man, a male warrior, stealing the five wives. It would be a different story. It had to be a female. (Furiosa) arose out of that,” he told the Toronto Star in an interview.

Tom Hardy even admitted to Metro that Ma is not in the driver’s seat in the film because it is about time we had better female leads in action films.

” This is not a feminist argument, it’s a person-hood situation. This is how we ought to reflect the times — not so much strong women, but just people. You know, you have a male and a female who are both just person-hood situations on both sides of the gender,” he said.

Tom goes on to compliment George Miller on not only paying attention to what’s happening in our culture with female empowerment, but also pioneering on screen at the same time.

“He’s reading the times, what’s going on…but it’s very clear that actually, right down to the shoulder pad on her left arm, [Theron] is the female protagonist of this movie. I think that’s very, very smart of him to deliver a female lead in Max Max. Charlize led this entire movie and it shows on screen and you can see it quite clearly. One has to yield to that. Because if you fight it, you get malleted.”

tom-hardy-charlize-theron-mad-max

The story line wasn’t just haphazardly written or put together in a diminutive manner at all. George Miller called upon noted feminist, sexual abuse survivor, One Billion Rising founder and ‘The Vagina Monologues’ creator Eve Ensler to work with some of the wives actresses, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Zoe Kravitz among them, in order to make them understand what their characters would actually be going through if they were real.

British supermodel turned actress Rosie told Esquire how the opportunity to work with Eve took the story line, and film’s feminist factor, to a whole other level.

“We were so lucky that George arranged for Eve Ensler, who wrote theVagina Monologues’, to fly in and work with us girls for about a week. We did extensive research with her. Eve herself has had a very intense life. She’s spent time in the Congo working with rape victims and women who have had unthinkable things happen to them through the power of men’s hands,” she said.

“We were able to pick her brain for a week. She told us the most tragic stories I’ve ever heard in my life, which gave us so much background to our characters. We really wanted to kind of showcase that. It was a privilege to have her around to make these characters something more than just five beautiful girls.”

mad-max-fury-road

Her character Splendid is pregnant from being raped and the time with Eve added much needed layers to her background and enabled Rosie to ask tough questions about this young woman she was portraying.

Charlize spoke to the press about playing Furiosa and how having a strong female lead who wasn’t one-dimensional or objectified was a very unique canvas.

“When George told me he wanted to create a female Road Warrior who can stand next to this very iconic character as his equal, I believed him and he didn’t let me down. The material allowed for two characters who don’t fall for each other, or even become friends, because there is no room for relationships in this place.”

The Toronto Star also points out that Charlize being 40, an age when Hollywood normally puts women out to pasture, is a big deal. But not so much for director George Miller who is no stranger to how women can bring a different kind of skill set to the table, by also enlisting a female editor (who happens to be his wife) Margaret Sixel.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is certainly not the typical kind of action movie we are used to seeing, but we as well as many other media outlets are holding high hopes for it this year. It already has a big competitor in ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ in terms of blockbuster ratings, but no matter who comes out on top of the polls at the end of the year, Mad Max is already a winner thanks to Charlize Theron, and Eve Ensler giving the film some legitimate feminism foundations.

Aside from her appearance on screen, we’re also excited to see what Charlize’s production company, Denver and Delilah Productions, will bring forth from its major deal with NBC Universal. After her experience with the wage gap, we have no doubt that Charlize doesn’t want a repeat of the inequality that happens so often in many industries, so she is following the likes of Lena Dunham, Rose Byrne and Reese Witherspoon by launching her own production company.

If you want any additional reasons to love Charlize, watch the Elle UK video below where she talks about who her female role models are (clue: they aren’t celebrities but real life sheroes) and why being surrounded by badass women her whole life makes her feel lucky:

Furiosa FTW!


 

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Activist Eve Ensler's Unapologetic Reasons For Turning 'Mad Max' Into A Feminist Film

  2. Ugonna Wosu says:

    her production company isn’t new. She produced Monster in 2003 with it. She’s produced most of her films with it.

  3. Pingback: Our Five Favorite Moments From The 2016 Academy Awards - GirlTalkHQ

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.