Charlize Theron's road to becoming one of Hollywood's most accomplished producers wasn't easy.
Sitting at The Hollywood Reporter's Producer Roundtable with Emma Tillinger Koskoff (The Irishman, Joker), David Heyman (Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Peter Chernin (Ford v Ferrari), Debra Martin Chase (Harriet) and Dan Lin (The Two Popes), the Oscar winner opened about her early producing experiences on 2003's Monster, which she said she had to fight the hardest for. Theron, whose performance as convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film earned her an Academy Award, said that her 30-pound weight gain nearly deterred people from investing in the film.
"As soon as I started gaining weight, I had one of the financiers call me up," she told her fellow producers. "Actually, his wife saw me, and she was like, 'Did you see Charlize? Have you seen what she looks like?' And I got that call, like, 'What's going on with that?'"
"He was like, ‘What are you doing? You never smiled. You look so angry, you look horrible,'" she continued. "So you panic a little bit because you are putting yourself out there, and you are taking a risk, and when you do that, you are not a hundred percent sure. You are taking a chance. So there is a part of you that second-guesses, right? And you are like, ‘Shit, well, maybe I did go too far with this.' Then you realize you have to stand that ground."
Switching gears, Theron also discussed losing the backing for her upcoming film Bombshell after the movie's first studio Annapurna fell through, explaining that she was more scared to lose the film's A-list stars—which includes Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon and more—due to scheduling.
"We aimed really high and had a lot of actors who are very, very busy," she said, who plays Megyn Kelly in the drama that takes viewers inside the Fox News #MeToo scandal. "So our scheduling was the biggest problem with the financing falling through because we were two weeks out from shooting."
"We had no window on the other side of it," Theron continued. "So if the film fell through, we would have had to recast the whole thing. And the moment that I heard about it was really shocking because they loved the film so much. When Annapurna sent it to us to produce, they were calling us every day because I was kind of sitting on it because it scared the shit out of me. I never felt anything from them that felt tepid or that they wanted to remove themselves from it."
Thankfully, her former financing partner Aaron Gilbert was willing to come on board and help get the movie made. But according to Theron, the more fear a project brings, the harder she wants to fight for it.
"Pure panic is what makes me stick around," she said. "Usually the projects that scare me the most are the ones that just don't leave."