Charlize Theron had some reservations when it came to the role of Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in her latest movie, “Bombshell”.
The film focuses on a group of women at the cable news network who helped expose the rampant sexual misconduct at the hands of CEO Roger Ailes in 2016. One of Ailes’ accusers, Gretchen Carlson, who is portrayed in the film by Nicole Kidman, filed the first lawsuit, leading other women, including Kelly, to come forward with their own allegations of sexual harassment. Ailes was eventually fired from the organization. He died in 2017 at age 77.
“I loved when Megyn took it to Trump,” Theron says, referencing Kelly’s 2017 feud with Donald Trump that included her grilling him about the way in which he characterized women.
“I admired her sharpness, her wit,” she says of Kelly, discussing “Bombshell” in the new issue of W magazine, which features the film’s trio of stars — Theron, Kidman, and Margot Robbie — on the cover. “She was fearless. But when my production company received the script for ‘Bombshell’, I was conflicted about playing her. I personally felt uncomfortable with some of the stuff that she’s said.”
While Theron may not personally agree with some of Kelly’s views, she says she can admire her determination, discovering a possible connection to both the woman and the character.
“I understood her strength and ambition. Megyn herself says, ‘I know I’m tough’ – and that’s something I’ve heard about myself,” she explains. “People told Megyn she had sharp elbows, that she was hard. I’ve had people judge me and say the same things about me.”
Kelly reportedly gave Theron’s casting her nod of approval. “She seems smart, seems like a good mom, so I could do worse,” she said back in September. With the film earning awards season buzz ahead of its release on Dec. 20, Kelly reportedly said she is “unsure” if she will watch it.
For Theron, the film is all about shedding light on the messy nature of the Fox News scandal.
“Ailes was very good at his job and he was also a mentor to many women at Fox, including Megyn,” she explains. “For women to be betrayed in their workplace by a mentor who is going to make your career possible is very confusing. The water is murky. I love the nuance of that in our film: We don’t tell the story of the perfect victims of Fox. We try to tell the story of the messy, emotional dynamics between boss and employee. In ‘Bombshell’, our monsters don’t always look like monsters, which is how it is in real life.”