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Actor Charlize Theron starred in Atomic Blonde, which appeared during the John Wick craze. However, it offered a completely different experience for its production. Theron once explained how Atomic Blonde came about at just the right time. The actor feared that she wouldn’t be able to make an action movie like this one forever.

Charlize Theron developed ‘Atomic Blonde’ from a ‘small, tiny little kernel’

'Atomic Blonde' Charlize Theron smiling in a black top in front of movie backdrop
Charlize Theron | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman’s They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog explore one of the biggest action franchises in the universe of John Wick. Theron had a bigger hand in Atomic Blonde than only agreeing to star in the lead role of Lorraine Broughton.

“It was the first time that I developed something from such a small, tiny little kernel,” Theron said. “I mean, that was an unpublished graphic novel. We were sent eight pages—it wasn’t even finished. And I said yes to those eight pages. I think the reason why I pushed as hard as I did on that film was because—and this is just a sad truth—there’s still a part of me as a female actor that always feels like this might be the last opportunity.”

Theron continued: “It’s terrible that that’s in my psyche. It’s also the thing that drives me and put some real fire under my ass to get it right. And I was relentless on that film. I carried a responsibility since I was developing it that I couldn’t look back and say, ‘Well, you know, it was a script that was … ‘ I was in charge of everything, and I didn’t want to get it wrong, I wanted to get it right.”

Charlize Theron made ‘Atomic Blonde’ in fear of time running out

Gross and Altman’s book tapped into the journey Theron set on with Atomic Blonde. The world recognizes Hollywood’s ageist and misogynistic practices, often pushing women out at a younger age. They’re placed in “mother” roles much quicker than men are put into “father” ones. Theron understood that she won’t always be able to make an Atomic Blonde and knew that she had to get it right.

“I made Atomic Blonde when I was 40 years old,” Theron said. “There was a sense of, ‘Time is running out, you’ve got to get it right. This means so much to you, and if you want to stay in this game, you’ve got to get it right.'”

Theron continued: “So I put a lot of pressure on everybody on that movie. I hired [John Wick producer and uncredited director] David Leitch for the reason that he could handle it. I said to him, ‘I’m never going to stop. And I’m going to expect you to never stop.'” Any kind of mediocrity is going to be the enemy on this film.”

The movie was ‘Certified Fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes


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Theron put a lot of hard work into making Atomic Blonde, and it paid off. The film is currently “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with 79% from critics and 64% from audiences. Criticisms knocked the memorability of the protagonist but praised the action sequences.

Atomic Blonde earned $100 million on a reported $30 million budget. A sequel is in the works at Netflix, but there are few available details. There’s also potential for a crossover with the John Wick franchise if it ultimately makes sense for both franchises.