Charlize Theron may have become unrecognizable in her role as Megyn Kelly in the new film "Bombshell," but the actress said that in researching the film, she also realized she "had so much in common" with Kelly.
Theron discussed the film on Tuesday with "The View" co-hosts. "Bombshell" is based on allegations of sexual harassment surrounding former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. The official description of the film reads: "BOMBSHELL is a revealing look inside the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time; Fox News, and the explosive story of the women who brought down the infamous man who created it."
Ailes, who died in 2017, was forced to resign in 2016 after former "Fox and Friends" host Gretchen Carlson accused him of sexual harassment in a lawsuit. Other women at Fox News, including Kelly, said Ailes sexually harassed them during his tenure at the news channel.
Theron admitted she's not politically conservative like Kelly. She said the intention of the film wasn't to tell a political story, but rather the story of what women like Kelly went through after revealing experiences of sexual harassment.
"The first thing that became so clear to me is that when we were talking about sexual harassment it's a nonpartisan issue," Theron said.
"Outside of knowing her as a conservative woman, what I was shocked to kind of realize through my research was that she's a woman that I didn't think I had anything in common with," Theron said of Kelly. "And I learned that I had so much in common with her."
"[Megyn Kelly] is somebody who's incredibly ambitious. She wants to be really good at her job. She's worked incredibly hard to get where she was," Theron continued.
Theron added that Kelly likely "didn't want to be defined" by her allegations against Ailes, which could put her at risk of losing "everything" she'd worked for.
"That's something that women who are victims of sexual harassment face every single day. The risk of what they're going to lose is so great," Theron said. "When people say to me, 'Why do you believe women so easily? Women have nothing to gain.' Look back, women are the ones who lose everything."
Theron said this risk to her career was where she related most to Kelly.
"I realized, wow, I know that feeling of being ambitious and wanting to be great and also that feeling where those things can be turned around and be weaponized against you as a woman," Theron said.
"When you're a guy and ambitious, it's great. When you're a woman, sometimes, it can be turned around and used as a negative," she continued. "In that sense, I really related to [Kelly] as a woman."
Kelly addressed the upcoming film for the first time on Friday in an Instagram post showing her youngest son Thatcher looking at a poster for the film. In her caption, Kelly wrote that Thatcher thought it was Kelly's image on the poster rather than Theron's.
"While the movie 'Bombshell' is loosely based on my experience during the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, I have nothing to do with this film. I did not sell the rights to my story or book and only got my first look at the film once it was past the point of any possible edits, though there are certainly some I would have made," Kelly wrote in the caption.
"Watching this picture was an incredibly emotional experience for me, and for those with whom I saw it. Sexual harassment is pervasive in this country; it can leave scars that do not heal," she continued. "My heart goes out to those who’ve gone through it, who I hope might find some comfort in this story."
Theron responded to Kelly's comments on "The View" Tuesday, saying she thought it was "honest" and that she's empathetic to the idea of watching someone play you on screen.
"That must be a crazy experience and she's incredibly smart and intelligent, and probably looks at it and goes, 'I could change this and make this better.'"
Theron, an Oscar Award winner, was nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award for her portrayal of Kelly in "Bombshell." She also explained on "The View" how she thinks the film shows the "gray areas" of sexual harassment.
"I do not think this film at all lives in a black-and-white place. I think it really covers the gray areas of sexual harassment," Theron said. "Predators don't fit into a box and victims don't fit into a box."
"A predator can be paternal, and care and invest and want to invest in you. That's what makes them so dangerous," Theron continued. "The point was to end this movie in saying that we still have so far to go."
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