‘Flux’-ing her acting muscles

Charlize Theron has ascended the ranks of her peers by becoming an actress of tremendous versatility. The last few months have showcased her ability to move from one extreme to the next, with roles such as a sexually harrased miner in North Country or a sleek rebel fighter in Aeon Flux. Theron gained greatest critical acclaim for her role in Monster, where she transformed her supermodel looks to match the out-of-shape physique of infamous serial killer Aileen Wuornos. The movie was a departure for an actress whom audiences know for her performances in such films as Sweet November and The Italian Job. In both of the films, Theron was little more than a piece of eye candy to indulge the males in the theater.

Smaller roles in films such as The Cider House Rules and The Devil’s Advocate showed a young actress with potential and no creative outlet to channel it. Although Theron may never reach the levels of greats such as Meryl Streep and Katharine Hepburn, but she will likely lead Hollywood’s crop of darlings.

Actresses such as Naomi Watts and Natalie Portman have all delivered Oscar-caliber performances and broken through the indie circuit to lead mainstream pictures. Portman is prepping for the release of her own action adaptation, V for Vendetta, and Watts will be sharing plenty of screen time with a computer-animated gorilla in Peter Jackson’s King Kong. What both Watts and Portman lack, Theron already has. Unlike her peers, Theron has already achieved the pinnacle by being bestowed with Oscar gold.

Now, Theron has Aeon Flux, one of the winter’s most anticipated action thrillers.

“I’ve reached a point in my career that both small independent as well as mainstream fares send me scripts for characters beyond what I had been known to play,” Theron said in a conference call. “The roles aren’t all glitz and glamour, with many of the roles being characters with intense emotional struggles or people out to change the world. I feel that at this moment, I’ve reached a comfortable plateau in my career where the sky is the limit.”Since winning the Academy Award for her startling performance in Monster, Theron has been in high demand. She’s been in a half-dozen films since then, some of which were noteworthy, but the hype led to her recent dud Head In The Clouds, which tanked in theaters and was torn to shreds by critics for its ridiculous storyline.

During the shoot for Aeon Flux, Theron performed her own stunts and suffered several small injuries on the set. The character gave the actress her first opportunity to wear the shoes of an action heroine.

“The filming (of Aeon Flux) has been the most demanding part of my life, physically,” Theron said. “The producers had me doing it all, and I loved every single minute of it.”

The movie is an adaptation of an MTV series popular during the early ’90s, which at first seemed like an unlikely candidate to make the leap to the silver screen. Due to a strong underground following, the show remained a cult classic and made its rounds across the Internet. In a time when comic-book heroes have become Hollywood’s biggest draw, MTV pictures has mounted one of its most expensive promotion blitzes, hoping to turn Aeon Flux into a lucrative cinematic franchise.

There is no way of knowing what may lie ahead for Theron, but she seems sure she won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

According to Theron, “I’m just beginning … and while I can’t be sure of what path my acting will take me, I’m excited to find out.”