Charlize Theron has admitted she was ‘conflicted’ about playing Megyn Kelly in Bombshell as she is ‘uncomfortable with some of the stuff’ the newscaster has said.
The actress – who played serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003’s Monster – is set to star in an upcoming movie focusing on the Roger Ailes-era at Fox News, along with stars Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie.
Jay Roach’s drama inspired by Ailes’ downward spiral is scheduled to be released in US theaters on December 20. Ailes died in 2017 at the age of 77, a year after he resigned from the network due to multiple sexual harassment allegations.
Theron and Kidman play Kelly, 49, and Gretchen Carlson, 53, respectively. Robbie stars as Kayla Pospisil, a character which is not based on anyone in real life.
And Theron, 44, says playing newscaster Kelly, who spent the bulk of her career on Fox News and who was fired from NBC in 2018 for defending blackface, left her ‘conflicted’.
But she says she ‘admired her sharpness and her wit’ and was impressed with how she ‘fearlessly took it to Trump’.
Oscar winner Theron, 44, left, said she’s ‘uncomfortable with some of the stuff’ Kelly, right, has said. Kelly lost her job with NBC after remarks in which she defended blackface on Today
Theron, left, stars in Bombshell, along with Nicole Kidman, center, and Margot Robbie, right
The three actresses spoke to W magazine about portraying victims of ‘monster’ Roger Ailes
She told W magazine: ‘I loved when Megyn took it to Trump. I admired her sharpness, her wit. 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.’
Oscar winner Theron said it was Kelly’s ‘strength and ambition’ that ultimately convinced her to take the role.
She added: ‘Ultimately, I understood her strength and ambition. Megyn Herself says “I know I’m tough” – and that’s something I’ve heard about myself.
‘People told Megyn she had sharp elbows, that she was hard. I’ve had people judge me and say the same things about me.’
Roger Ailes died in 2017 at the age of 77, a year after he resigned from the network due to multiple sexual harassment allegations
The movie focuses on Fox News employees who speak up about founder Roger Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment and misconduct.
Theron adds: ‘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.
‘This film is, hopefully, like taking medicine: It doesn’t answer every question and it isn’t the cure, but hopefully it does speed the process of change.’
In June 2016, former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson was quietly let go after 11 years with the network upon the expiration of her contract.
Just a few weeks later, on July 6, Carlson sued Ailes, claiming she was cut loose after she refused his sexual advances and complained about harassment in the workplace.
Ailes denied the allegations and accused Carlson of filing the lawsuit in retaliation for her contract not being renewed.
Kidman, 52, who plays Carlson, adds: ‘I liked that our story is a study of how women relate to a toxic environment. We want to tell complicated stories about women, and that’s very difficult. The world likes clear-cut winners and losers, abuser and victims, but reality is not that simple.
‘It’s always a little dangerous to give a predator like Ailes any measure of humanity, but to get at the problem of harassment, you have to understand how someone like Ailes manipulated these women.’
Carlson got a reported $20 million settlement in 2016. Besides her settlement, she got a public apology Carlson’s case predated sexual misconduct allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein by a year.
On July 9, allegations from six other women were published. The women accused Ailes of sexual misconduct.
On July 19, it was reported that Megyn Kelly, who was arguably Fox News’ biggest star, told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her when she was first started out at the network.
Ailes resigned on July 21. He died less than a year later in May 2017.
Gretchen Carlson, left, sued Ailes, claiming she was cut loose after she refused his sexual advances and complained about harassment in the workplace. Kidman, right, will play Carlson
Robbie, 29, who plays a fictional character in the movie, says she rebelled against the Fox dress code by not wearing nude pantyhose.
She said: ‘I said, ‘No one my age or younger would wear nude hose,’ so I said no. Do you think Roger would have fired me?’
A separate mini series, titled The Loudest Voice, aired on Showtime in June and focused on the last decade of Roger’s career at the network, starring Russell Crowe as Ailes and Naomi Watts as Carlson.