Charlize Theron had reservations about playing news personality Megyn Kelly in the upcoming film Bombshell.
The movie focuses on several women at Fox News who helped expose CEO Roger Ailes' sexual misconduct. He died at age 77 in 2017. A year prior, he was ousted from the cable news channel with a $40 million severance package after several female anchors and contributors sued him for alleged sexual harassment.
One of Ailes' accusers was Fox and Friends star Gretchen Carlson, who Nicole Kidman plays in Bombshell. After she filed her lawsuit, female employees such as Kelly, host of Fox News' The Kelly File, came forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment.
"I loved when Megyn took it to Trump," Theron told W magazine in a cover interview published in its final 2019 issue. "I admired her sharpness, her wit. She was fearless. But when my production company received the script for Bombshell, I was conflicted about playing her. I personally felt uncomfortable with some of the stuff that she's said."
Kelly had left Fox News in 2017, months after a public feud with now-President Donald Trump. She hosted her own talk show during the third hour of NBC's Today show for a year until October 2018, when her program was canceled following controversial comments she made on the air about blackface, for which she later apologized.
Theron, who has two adopted black children, told W, "Ultimately, I understood her strength and ambition. Megyn herself says, 'I know I'm tough' and that's something I've heard about myself. People told Megyn she had sharp elbows, that she was hard. I've had people judge me and say the same things about me."
Kelly has said she is a fan of Theron and seemed pleased with her casting.
In October, Theron told E! News that Kelly has not reached out directly to her. She also said that they are reaching out to "all of the women."
"We want to share this film with them," she said. "We're incredibly proud of it and we hope they're proud of it. We're proud of them. It's a landmark moment. They really catapulted us into this moment of conversation that just hasn't stopped and for whatever you think about them or feel about then, they were part of something that changed our conversation."
Theron appears on W's cover with Kidman and fellow co-star Margot Robbie, who plays a fictional Fox News producer named Kayla Pospisil.
"I liked that our story is a study of how women relate to a toxic environment," Kidman told the magazine. "We want to tell complicated stories about women, and that's very difficult. The world likes clear-cut winners and losers, abuser and victims, but reality is not that simple."
"I did rebel against the Fox dress code," Robbie said. "I would not put on nude hose. I said, ‘No one my age or younger would wear nude hose,' so I said no. Do you think Roger would have fired me?"
Bombshell is set to hit theaters on December 13.