Charlize Theron Knew Her Film Was Going To Flop

By Allie Hammond | Published

charlize theron

Charlize Theron has had many great movies rank at the top of her career, such as her 2003 award-winning performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster and her 2015 role as the hardened rebel soldier Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.  Others didn’t quite make the mark, however, with one such movie being 2005’s Aeon Flux.  According to a Hollywood Reporter interview with Charlize Theron, she says she “knew from the beginning” that the film was going to “f***ing flop” from the start.

Charlize Theron revealed that she was a fan of the original Aeon Flux show and says that walking onto a set of something that was so established and “brilliant” was one of the scariest things she’s ever done.  “But I think I needed that, to put myself out there in a different way,” she added.  Filming the movie was meant to help the actress shed a “depressing” image by crafting a new and better one for herself, one where she could feel strong and empowered without the need for others to take pity on her.  Theron soon realized that the release of Aeon Flux would be doomed.

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Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux

When asked how she handled the failure of the production, Theron noted that, despite knowing the film was going to be a bust, she fought “until the bitter end.”  Reflecting on her time spent during filming now, she says to The Hollywood Reporter that she wishes she would have fought harder in the way of Tom Cruise, taking the bull by the horns and going through changes until a better approach to the direction of the film could be found.

“With that one, I don’t know if I had the answers for how to [fix it], but I definitely knew we were in trouble,” she continued on. “I wasn’t a producer on it, and I didn’t really have the experience to say what I believe Tom Cruise has maybe said for the past 20 years, which is, ‘Shut this sh*t down, get four more writers on it and let’s figure this out.’ Instead, I’m going, ‘Oh God, I’ve just got to get through this day, I have bronchitis, but let’s keep shooting.’ Now I imagine all these male actors going, ‘Shut it down for six months!’ And it’s like, f**k, no one told me that was an option.”

Distributed by Paramount Pictures and directed by Karyn Kusama, Aeon Flux stars Charlize Theron as Aeon, a member of a group of rebels in post-apocalyptic Earth in 2415, trying to destroy a government that focuses on controlling what little remains of the populace after a virus nearly wiped them out centuries ago.

The live-action adaptation of a long-time loved MTV animated series was anything but a box-office success.  Despite starring the likes of Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller, Sophie Okonedo, Pete Postlethwaite and Frances McDormand, Aeon Flux was poorly received by both critics and audience members alike and the sci-fi film earned $52.3 million against a budget of $55-62 million dollars while garnering a Rotten Tomatoes score of only 9%. 

Both the director and main star have seemingly recovered from this hiccup in their repertoire, with Kusama having directed critically acclaimed hits like Jennifer’s Body and Yellowjackets, while Charlize Theron received two more Oscar nominations (for North Country and Bombshell, respectively), and later became part of the Fast and Furious franchise and a cameo in Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys.