Bombshell has emerged as a serious awards contender in recent weeks, with stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie generating buzz for their performances in Jay Roach’s drama about the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News. The subject matter is relevant in a country still struggling to reckon with prominent cases of sexual misconduct and abuses of power, but also somewhat challenging given the conservative news network’s reputation. Following a screening in Manhattan on Sunday evening, Theron—who also produced Bombshell—acknowledged her own difficulties with the film during a Q&A. According to Variety, the actress revealed that she almost turned down the role of Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News anchor and one of several women who accused Fox chief Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.
“She’s conflicting,” Theron said of Kelly, who was later fired from NBC for making racist comments. The actress added that she was “shit scared” to play someone who’s “incredibly well known.” When moderator Alisyn Camerota—another one of Ailes’ many accusers—brought up Theron’s portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 film Monster, the actress said playing Kelly “was harder.” During the Q&A, director Jay Roach rightly noted that “sexual harassment is not a partisan issue”; Theron echoed that sentiment in expressing why she feels Bombshell is an important film, particularly in our current socio-political climate:
There is a wave happening right now that sets this apart. I don’t want my daughters to go through [sexual harassment]. We don’t want our sisters to go through that. We don’t want our mothers to go through that. We just want to be able to go to work and feel safe.