Charlize Theron may seem like a soft-spoken screen siren, but she reveals her dark side and wicked sense of humor when we meet at The Regency Hotel in NYC where she is promoting Battle In Seattle.
Donning a black flowing dress, sandals and casual updo, Charlize gasps when the room comments that she smells nice. “Oh no, it’s like a cheap hooker!” she exclaims, adding that it’s Kiehl’s Musk.
Battle In Seattle, which also stars Michelle Rodriguez, Woody Harrelson, Channing Tatum, Joshua Jackson and Andre Benjamin, tells the story about the protests that took place in Seattle during the 1999 WTO talks. It’s in theaters now.
Charlize herself has also caused a ruckus.
“I got deported when I was 19 for producing and financing a documentary on Cuba,” she says in a lilting accent. “You don’t want to keep pushing your luck. I only became an American citizen last year.”
Now that the South African-born actress, 33, who has lived in the U.S. since 1994, is a citizen, she hopes to join the antiwar protests — even though her beau, director Stuart Townsend, screened the film during the Democratic and Republican Conventions.
“Damn right, girl!” she says. “I’m ready to go. I’ll call it research.”
She continues, “I’ve lived here a year longer than I lived in South Africa. This is my home now, whether you guys like it or not. And to say something that comes from a place of questioning government or questioning policy – people consider that unpatriotic, like that means you don’t love the country and you should go back. That’s something I don’t believe in, but I’ve always been very much about causes and about a lot of things. I don’t hide from that. But to go and stand at a protest is a little different. If you get arrested, that’s not good when you’re trying to become a citizen.”
Stuart isn’t so shy about standing up for causes.
“I did fight in Ireland,” he says. “There’s a hill called Tarry Hill where 140 of our kings were crowned. It’s been the religious and economic center of our land for 5,000 years, and they put a motorway through it – or near it. I fought that for a few years, and lost. No one was listening – there was no outrage.”
Charlize may play a pregnant woman in the film, but she didn’t rock a fake belly. “Not at all! That’s not a prosthetic. That was after lunch, but thanks! I feel great now.”
What’s Woody really like? “He hits me when he comes to my house,” she deadpans. “No, he’s a sweetheart. He’s such a goofball. Sometimes you just want to go ‘focus!’”
And, what’s next?
“We’re going to eat,” she says.
Battle In Seattle is in theaters now.