It's a common complaint1 amongst actresses who started out as models or beauty queens that no one takes them seriously. They're seen, they believe, merely2 as eye candy3, girlfriend material, lacking4 the talent to take on the meatier5 female roles. Many the more bloody minded6 among them rebel7 against this stereotyping, work hard to widen8 their scope9, and eventually succeed in earning their peers'10 respect. Michelle Pfeiffer was a glowing11 example of this, and the first four years of the new millennium saw two others follow her. First Halle Berry took the Best Actress Oscar for Monster's Ball then, two years later, Charlize Theron for Monster. Both movies were raw12, disturbing and emotionally truthful13, but of the two actresses it was Theron who went furthest14. As the serial killer Aileen Wuornos, she left her looks behind entirely, wholly inhabited her character. When her performance was compared to that of Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, it could not be denied that this beauty was far more than just a looker.
Theron was born on the 7th of August, 1975, and grew up on a farm outside of Benoni, a town some 25 kilometres east of Johannesburg. She was named after her father, Charles. Charles was of French descent15, while her mother Gerda hailed16 from German stock both parents, though, were Afrikaans, born and raised in South Africa. Theron would begin ballet lessons at the age of 6, and always be a keen17 entertainer18, ever encouraged19 by her mother. Indeed, Gerda would even halt business meetings and force her associates to watch her daughter dance and lip synch to the pop music of the day. At 12, Charlize was sent to a boarding school in Johannesburg, specialising in the arts. Here'd she'd step up her dance training, now studying classical ballet as well as flamenco, Greek and contemporary dance.
In 1991 Gerda was encouraging Charlize to enter a Johannesburg modelling contest20. She won it and was soon flying off to Positano, Italy, near the island of Capri, to represent her country at the International New Model Today competition. Again she won, and now her life changed completely as the modelling work came flooding in21. She quit boarding school22 and, with Gerda returning to the farm and the road construction firm after three months, she lived on her own in Milan, travelling to jobs all over Europe.
This would last for a year. Then Charlize, keen to prove she was more than just a pretty face, moved to New York to study at the Joffrey Ballet School, financing herself by modelling in her spare time23. After just 8 months, though, her prima ballerina dreams turned to dust when her knee "blew out" in class, forcing her into premature24 retirement. For a few months she moved down to Miami, modelling and letting the benign weather lift her spirits. Of course, as a born entertainer, she remained unfulfilled25 so, once more pushed by Gerda, she took off for Los Angeles and, maybe, a career in acting. This was 1994, and Charlize found herself living in a fleapit26 hotel on Fairfax, coincidentally27 called The Farmer's Daughter. She was flat broke28 and struggling29, eating bread stolen from restaurants. No agent was interested.
One day she was in a bank, attempting to cash a much needed cheque for $500. The teller30 refused as it was an out of state cheque and Charlize, by now at the end of her tether31, went ballistic, treating the teller and the bank's staff and customers to much of the most colourful32 language South Africa has to offer. Her mood was not improved when, as she left, she was approached by a guy she presumed was a sleazeball33 on the make34. Her performance had impressed him, he said, he could take her far. As it turned out, she was wrong and he was right.
The sleazeball was, in fact, John Crosby, a longtime talent manager then representing John Hurt and Rene Russo. Promising Gerda he would act as her guardian, he took Charlize on, hooked her up with a few appreciative female casting directors and sent her to acting classes with Ivana Chubbuck to get rid of that thick Afrikaans accent. She'd attend these classes with a girl soon to be her room mate and best friend, Ivana Milicevic (later to score with The Amy Show).
The training and new connections35 helped. Within months, Theron had made her screen debut in Children Of the Corn III. She was just a young mum in the park, in a 3 second non speaking role, but it was a start. Now things were moving. In fact, they were moving so fast she almost rolled right into a disaster36 when she made the final short list for the lead in Joe Eszterhas's Showgirls, being narrowly pipped37 by Elizabeth Berkley. The film would famously send Berkley's career into freefall, leading Theron to later comment "It was like I had some guardian angel38". Her next role was as Helga in 2 Days in the Valley (1996), which landed her the role of Tina in That Thing You Do! (1996). Since then, she has starred in movies like The Devil's Advocate (1997); Mighty Joe Young (1998); The Cider House Rules (1999); The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) and The Italian Job (2003). An important day in her life was February 29th, 2004 when she was awarded with her first Academy Award for her performance in Monster (2003).
Charlize was the first South African born woman to win an Oscar. Once Charlize Theron said "It seems my whole career has been about having to prove I can actually play the part".
1 complaint - жалоба
2 merely - просто
3 eye candy - нечто симпатичное
4 lacking - отсутствующий
5 meatier - дающий пищу уму, содержательный
6 bloody minded - несговорчивый, неуступчивый
7 rebel - протестовать, оказывать сопротивление
8 widen - расширять
9 scope - границы, рамки
10 peer - равный по статусу
11 glowing - яркий
12 raw - грубый
13 truthful - правдивый
14 furthest - еще дальше
15 French descent - французское происхождение
16 hail - происходить, быть родом
17 keen - великолепный
18 entertainer - эстрадный артист
19 to encourage - вдохновлять
20 modeling contest - конкурс фотомоделей
21 flooding in - нарастать, прибывать
22 boarding school - школа интернат
23 spare time - свободное время
24 premature - преждевременный
27 coincidentally - по совпадению
28 flat broke - без гроша в кармане
29 struggling - бороться, преодолевать себя
30 teller - служащий в банке
31 tether - предел (эмоциональный)
32 colorful - яркий, живописный
33 sleazeball - подхалим
34 on the make - пытающийся завоевать чье либо расположение
35 connections - связи
36 roll into a disaster - попасть в катастрофическую ситуацию
37 pip - потерпеть поражение
38 guardian angel - ангел хранитель
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