Charlize Theron says the Golden Globes snubbing female directors is ‘really ridiculous’

Charlize Theron
Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron is photographed in promotion of her film “Bombshell” before the Los Angeles Times’ Envelope Roundtable of actresses at Machinima Studios in Burbank on Oct 26.
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Charlize Theron was running late for school drop-off Monday when she noticed a barrage of text messages pouring into her phone.

“I was like, ‘No, no, no, no,’ because I had two alarms set this morning, but one didn’t go off for some reason,” she recalled. But when she skimmed the messages, she realized it was good news: She’d been nominated for a Golden Globe for playing Megyn Kelly in the film”Bombshell.” She started grinning, and one of her two kids noticed.

“My 7-year-old called me out and was like, ‘Mom, why are you smiling?’ I was like, ‘It’s not a boy, calm down!’” the actress said. “I had to explain that I hadn’t won it yet. ‘So, wait, you might not win it?’ And I said: ‘No, there’s a really good chance I might not win it. But your mom still did really good.’”


With both children out of the house, Theron hopped on the phone at around 9:30 a.m. to discuss “Bombshell.”

Have you heard from Megyn Kelly yet about the movie?

No, not at all. We set up screenings for everybody — all of the women, including Gretchen [Carlson]. But we haven’t heard whether they’ve seen it or not.

Does that scare you?

It’s not scary. I totally understand it. I think this stuff is really hard, and I have full empathy around that. If I was in her shoes, I would have the same anxiety over all of that stuff. It’s tough for these women, because I think this is something a lot of them really want to put behind them.


Do you think the movie will contribute to the efforts of former Fox News employees seeking to be released from their Nondisclosure agreements?

I hope so. I feel like there’s enough noise right now. It was interesting when we went to D.C. There are incredible people working on this right now on the Hill, and I feel like it’s something we need to revisit and look at. It is a huge part of why women don’t come forward and share their stories. Ultimately, in cases of sexual harassment, it is the perpetrator who is protected by these NDAs, and it becomes systemic — this toxic workplace environment thrives. It’s not conducive to healthy a work space if you can’t share it and there are no consequences.

How do you feel about the fact that “Bombshell” and another project about Fox News, the Roger Ailes television series “The Loudest Voice,” were both nominated today?

There’s been cases of two movies being made about the same subject matter before. [“The Loudest Voice” writer] Gabe Sherman and [“Bombshell” writer] Charles Randolph happened to want to make those stories around the same time. Ultimately, I think it’s great in the sense that they tell the story with different perspectives. Ours is the perspective of the women, and that doesn’t necessarily make one better than the other.

How do you feel about the fact that no female directors were nominated today?

It’s tough. It’s really, really tough. And I think it gets really frustrating when we we have to remember that women directors, especially, are just trying to get their numbers up. They represent 10% of our directors in the industry, and when you have a good year like we had this year with such great work, it is incredibly frustrating. No woman wants to get nominated because it’s the right thing to do. It’s really, really ridiculous. It’s not cool. It’s really hard, and I think it’s unfair, and it’s why we can’t stop this fight. We gotta keep making noise until we’re heard and these stories get recognized.


“Bombshell” is a story about women and it’s directed by a man, Jay Roach. Why did you back him as the filmmaker?

I do still feel strongly about this: Saying there needs to be more opportunities for women does not necessarily negate what it means for men to be part of our storytelling as well. I believe women should have more opportunities, but I don’t want to believe that women are the only ones who can tell women’s stories and men can only tell men’s stories. I don’t think Ava DuVernay would be happy about that. She makes movies about the acquitted Central Park Five.

Also, the script came to me. It wasn’t an idea I developed. That script came from Charles Randolph, who on his own decided to take the story on. It was a man who decided he wanted to spend two years researching this and spending time and energy to make this project. I think that’s incredible, and I take my hat off to any man who wants to dedicate two years of their life to something like this. And Jay, to me, was a no-brainer in the sense that he is a filmmaker I really admire. I knew he would do something on this film that was incredibly hard to do. Ultimately, the tone is why people will go and see this. It’s not taking medicine. It’s not preachy. And all that credit goes to Jay. That’s what he brought to the table.

There’s been some Twitter discussion about how your role in “Long Shot” this year deserved recognition in the comedy category. Do you ever feel like your lighter work is overlooked?

Yeah, but I’m not like, “What the hell, guys?” That movie was one of the best working experiences I’ve ever had. Not only was it fun, but it was a real tall order to get that project to end up being nostalgic but fresh, really romantic but really funny. I think it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever been in. I will just have my 4-year-old make me a Golden Globe for that.