Charlize Theron has recalled feeling “insulted” when producers on The Italian Job remake tried to make her do six weeks more car training than her male co-stars.
The Oscar-winning actress appeared alongside Edward Norton, Jason Statham and Mark Wahlberg in the 2003 heist film – and revealed one of her male co-stars had thrown up after an intense driving stunt.
Theron said the experience had made her realise how women are treated in the action film genre, but spurred her to “outdrive all of those guys”.
Speaking on a Comic-Con@Home panel, she said: “For sure, The Italian Job was a great experience, in the sense that I realised there was still so much misconception around women in the genre, even though in that film the action is really based on cars.
“We had to physically do a lot of that stuff. The only good thing that came out of that experience was that there was a real pressure to pull off those stunts with the actors.”
But she said there had been an “unfair process”, recalling: “I was the only woman with a bunch of guys and I remember vividly getting the schedule in our pre-production and they had scheduled me for six weeks more car training than any of the guys.
“And it was just so insulting. But it was also the thing that put a real fire under my ass. And I was like ‘alright, you guys want to play this game? Let’s go’. And I made it a point to out drive all of those guys.”
Theron, who has also starred in Mad Max: Fury Road and Prometheus, said she was proud of her driving in the film.
After completing one particularly impressive stunt, she said: “It was a huge moment of feeling like ‘yeah, we can do all of that stuff’. And women are so unfairly thought of or treated when it comes to the genre.”
The Hollywood star claimed that Mark Wahlberg was forced to pull over and throw up during an intense training session behind the wheel.
Theron, who won a best actress Oscar in 2003 for her portrayal of a serial killer in Monster and has recently starred in Netflix hit The Old Guard, said the perception of female action stars has changed in recent years.
“The good news now is that we’ve kind of changed the genre for women. I think there’s great evidence where we now know you can’t hide behind ignorance anymore. Audiences love these films,” she said.