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Steven Seagal was a big action star in the 1990s. His Aikido style was unique in movies like Hard to Kill, Out for Justice, Under Siege and more. By the end of the decade his movies were going straight to video, and they still do today. Movie stars like Keanu Reeves, Matt Damon, Uma Thurman and Charlize Theron have taken up the mantle of martial arts action. Theron herself believes she could take Seagal.

Charlize Theron Atomic Blonde
Charlize Theron | Tara Ziemba/Getty Images

Theron appeared on The Howard Stern Show on June 22 to promote her action film The Old Guard. Here’s where Theron detected the flaws in Seagal’s style that she could exploit. The Old Guard premieres July 10 on Netflix.

Charlize Theron saw Steven Seagal in “real” fights and called B.S.

Of course movies are choreographed and they’re going to favort the star. However, Seagal promoted himself as a real-life martial artists. Theron watched videos of some of his fights and didn’t believe them. 

“When I make a movie like this, at night I’ll go online just to watch fighters or watch people fight,” Theron told Stern. “You always come across that odd Seagal video of him fighting in Japan but he really isn’t. He’s just incredibly overweight and pushing people. He’s overweight and he barely fights. Look it up. It’s ridiculous. He’s just shoving people by the face. It’s like a whole setup.”

Steven Seagal | Tristar Media/Getty Images

Normally, Theron would compliment her fellow actors, as she did Reeves and Renee Zellweger during the interview. Seagal, however, has a reputation for alleged sexual misconduct according to USA Today and accounts by Portia De Rossi on Twitter, Jenny McCarthy on Sirius XM and Rachel Grant on the BBC. So Theron didn’t hold back.

“Listen, I have no problem talking sh*t about him because he’s not very nice to women so f*** you,” Theron said.

Charlize Theron helped make action heroines a part of the movie industry

In the past, the industry looked at action heroines like Sigourney Weaver, Geena Davis or even Thurman as a novelty. It has only been recently that roles for women in action movies have gotten more common. Seagal can’t compete with that.

Charlize Theron - The Old Guard
L-R: KiKi Layne, Charlize Theron | Aimee Spinks/Netflix

“It makes me feel good about just knowing that we’ve changed that industry as a whole,” Theron said. “I feel like the genre has definitely had a facelift and I feel like women have been a huge part in that. I feel like women have kind of stepped up in the genre and made it fun again and not made it just part of this one conversation where it’s like oh, women can’t fight like men. Well, we don’t want f*cking fight like men. We want to fight like we would fight and figuring out what that looks like.”

How a woman could defeat Steven Seagal 

In his movies, Seagal could break bones and flip dudes over. Theron said in real fights all he did was push people. She knows how a woman could be powerful against a man in a fight. 

Steven Seagal - Under Siege 2
Steven Seagal | Joel Warren/Warner Bros./Getty Images

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“There is nobody that can tell me that if a woman knew the strength of her body, which is her elbows, not her fist,” Theron said. “Her elbows, her knees, her feet, when you know that stuff, you can fight like a motherf*cker. We want to fight smarter. We want to fight in a way that makes sense and we want to do it in a way where we’re still part of emotional storytelling.”

Still, Charlize Theron avoids fighting 

As much as Theron loves playing the action heroine, she does not want to be in a real fight. Although she has learned choreography for movies, she feels her priority in a life or death battle would be to escape.

I always say when I finish one of these movies, ‘You know what? I’m going to take a martial arts class.’ I always say it and then I never do it of course. If something were to happen, I know because I have been in high tense situations before, I do have a sense of calm in me. Now that I know that, I would rely on that, but it doesn’t make me skilled. I won’t panic and I will figure out something, but I think my something would be more like what can I hit you over the head with, vs. let’s go motherf*cker, hand to hand comeback. I’m not that guy. I’m not going to be doing that.

Charlize Theron, The Howard Stern Show, 6/22/2020