Superstar Charlize Theron doesn’t mess around. She’s a consummate professional who knows how to choose roles that elevate her status as a Hollywood A-lister. There are no stereotypical female characters in her rap-sheet. Instead, she chooses to play complex, powerful women who get what they want and aren’t afraid to kick some ass for it. And Atomic Blonde, her latest project with John Wick director David Leitch, is no different.
Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, an undercover MI6 agent sent to Berlin during the height of the Cold War to investigate the death of a comrade. There’s no shortage of high-octane action in this espionage thriller, where kung fu porn takes center stage, giving its statuesque femme fatale a chance to murder, maim, and destroy baddies that get in her way. To prepare all you Charlize Theron adorers out there for this epic slug-fest, here are some of the actress’s most badass roles to date. Get ready to be bruised and burned, boys!
Aileen in Monster
You can count on the leggy stunner to bring the heavy drama when needed. And for this biopic, where she played the infamous serial killer Aileen Wuornos, Theron physically transformed herself in order to masterfully bring the character to life. Her efforts won her an Oscar that solidified her standing as one of this generation’s best.
Cipher in The Fate of the Furious
Finally, a worthy F&F supervillain that didn’t have a penis. Just try not to get distracted by those crazy dreadlocks.
Aeon Flux in Aeon Flux
Granted, the movie was one hot mess of a disappointment, it still gave fans of the popular MTV animated series a chance to see their hero in action. Plus, Charlize in that tight suit was well worth the ticket price.
Stella Bridger in The Italian Job
Heist flicks always require an individual savvy enough to crack open a safe. In this remake of the 1960s British film of the same title, Theron stars as a safe vault technician who finds herself on the wrong side of the law, ready to pull off a job that only a woman of her skill-level can take on.
Ravenna from Snow White and the Huntsman
The best thing about this semi train wreck of a retelling is witnessing Theron savor being the villainess. It’s a performance that’s queenly in its own right.
Monkey from Kubo and the Two Strings
The talented thespian lends her voice to this entertaining stop motion animation about a young orphan searching for his place in the world. Granted, she does play a monkey—but take note, it’s a monkey who has some pretty sick martial arts moves!
Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Theron’s turn as the bald, one-armed driver of a truck carrying hot concubines will go down in history as one of her most iconic characters yet. As Furiosa, she stole the spotlight from leading man Tom Hardy, hauling ass as she protected fellow women from a twisted ruler and society that used them as mere baby carriers. Even with a shaved noggin, her beauty shined through, because at the core of this multilayered woman was a kindhearted soul who just happened to be a demon behind the wheel.