Charlize Theron Surprises Hollywood, Again

ByABC News via logo
February 2, 2007, 9:47 AM

Feb. 2, 2007 — -- The world has learned to expect the unexpected from Charlize Theron.

Now, the Oscar-winning actress has stepped from in front of the camera to behind it. Her first documentary, "East of Havana," hits select theaters today. Theron visited "Good Morning America" to talk about the politically charged film.

"East of Havana" focuses on the men and women of Cuba, their music, their life, and their quest for social justice. Theron said she was inspired by the young people she met while making the film, people who risked their lives by speaking out.

"It's amazing to me how resilient people become; such a love for people who grow up in harsh landscapes," she said. "They naturally have this instinct to survive, no matter what."

Theron said that many of the young people she met questioned Fidel Castro's regime.

"I think the younger generation is starting to say, 'You know what, it doesn't work. We're not happy. We want to have freedom of speech. We want to be able to travel,'" she said.

Though "East of Havana" has political overtones, Theron said she didn't set out to make the film with an agenda in mind. She let the political discussion happen organically.

"I find sometimes when you let people speak, when you go into a country like that, naturally you'll get the best insight on the political situation," she said. "Just don't force people to talk about it. We never did that."

In 2004, Theron became a major player in Hollywood after winning a best actress Oscar for her role in "Monster." The night of her win was pivotal for her career in more ways than one.

"That next morning, when I was still in leftover hair and makeup, we decided to make this film," she said, referring to "East of Havana."

This year, though, she won't be able to attend the Oscars.

"I'm working," she said.