Charlize Theron brings the badness as the villainous Queen Ravenna in ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’.
"I loved playing her," Charlize Theron responds when FilmInk asks Charlize Theron if it's more fun to play the villain than the hero. "I don't know if it's because she was the villain, but I loved playing her. There's something really nice about the freedom of excusing behaviour that you would never, ever do yourself. I mean, the way that I yelled at people in this movie, I would never do that in real life," she laughs. "So yes, there is a little bit of that."
While Queen Ravenna is psychotic, relentless, lethal and the very picture of composed evil, Theron - no stranger to playing dark characters after the likes of Monster, in which she won an Oscar for her bravura work as serial killer, Aileen Wuornos - still managed to find her way into the character's damaged soul. "I understood why she behaves in the way that she does, and I have empathy for her," Theron says. "I can't judge her, because her circumstances are so completely different from what I know. If I had lived that life, maybe I would behave in the same way that she does. Her humanity is in that, and this desperation to survive in a way that she only has one toolset to apply to, is devastating... it's absolutely devastating. But yet, the things that she does are incredibly brutal and vicious, and you can't really forgive her for that.
"Stanley Kubrick's The Shining actually really inspired me," the actress recalls, "and Jack Nicholson's performance really inspired me. He's stuck in that big hotel, and he slowly unravels, and he slowly starts getting madder and madder. That connected with me. Regardless of the role, I always find something that grounds it for me in some sort of reality. I don't ever want to play black and white characters. It would be impossible for me, because it's just not what I believe. I just don't believe that we are that one dimensional."
Though an edgy, energised take on a classic fairytale, Snow White & The Huntsman is a fairytale nonetheless. Does Theron think that such tales are damaging for young women, particularly in their simplified depictions of relationships, and in their traditional positioning of women as damsels in distress? "We can't just be politically correct all the time," the actress replies. "What a boring life to go through! There's something great about children and their imaginations. When you teach your kids to have a solid foundation, they can just enjoy these things. You don't have to blame something fantastical, or a princess story, for fucking up your child. These stories are beautiful, and kids love that. Who doesn't? I remember watching Daryl Hannah in Splash, and I wanted to be a mermaid so badly! My mother didn't go, ‘No, love, you can't be a mermaid because that's sexist,'" Theron laughs.
Snow White & The Huntsman is released in cinemas June 21. This is an excerpt from a terrific feature included in our latest version of FilmInk for the iPad. It comes packed with trailers, videos, photo galleries and more, and can be downloaded here.