If there was ever an espionage film role that needed to be filled by a female James Bond, Charlize Theron could very well apply for it.
In ‘Atomic Blonde,’ Theron plays a British undercover spy named Lorraine Broughton who is sent to Berlin during the Cold War. Not only is she tasked with investigating the murder of a fellow agent, she also has to find a confidential list of double agents who are being smuggled into the west just before the fall of the wall.
And the native South African 42-year-old puts in a powerful performance. She kicks butt in her high heels yet remains ice-cold and elegant, all the while defeating her enemies while donning slick outfits and a platinum-blond wig.
In the opening scene, agent Broughton rises from a bathtub filled with ice cubes, displaying stark blue eyes and bloody cuts on her body. Then the scene cuts to London, where her bosses want to know what went wrong in Berlin.
Set in the middle of the Cold War, there’s unrest on the streets. Both the west and the east are on the hunt for a coveted list of the names of agents that each side wants for themselves.
Amidst the action, the audience catches glimpses of iconic buildings in Berlin such as Kaiser William Memorial Church along Kufürstendamm, one of Germany’s most famous avenues.
There’s also a hot chase through Kino International, a movie theatre in former East Germany which hosted premieres until the collapse of the wall. Tempelhof Airport, a now defunct iconic pre-WWII airport turned park, can also be seen in the film.
No stranger to physically demanding roles, Theron underwent ten gruelling weeks of training so she could perform her own stunts for the film. But in the process of being punched, kicked and flung into walls, she sustained a few injuries.
“I cracked two back teeth and I had to have dental surgery, they had to be removed. It wasn’t fun,” Theron told British daily the Mirror.
15 years ago when the actress was in her 20s, she famously put on a lot of weight for her role in ‘Monster,’ a film she eventually won an Oscar for.
Theron said she enjoyed playing an action icon in 'Atomic Blonde.' She also didn't mind the steamy sex scene she had with co-star Sofia Boutella. “Believe me, women are actively searching for other women to have hot sex with,” Theron told the Los Angeles Times before the film’s US launch.
Theron also said she would like more “courageous” producers and directors to create strong roles for women.
Directed by David Leitch as well as co-produced by Theron, the film also stars John Goodman, James McAvoy and Til Schweiger among others.