Charlize Theron recently opened up about her past in an interview with Howard Stern. Howard asked her about her fame and how South Africans felt she wasn’t authentically South African any more because of her accent. ‘I think they were upset because I now speak with an American accent,’ Charlize said, ‘and I think they felt that it made me less South African.’ But she says she often slips back into her South African accent. ‘My mom lives a few kilometres away from me and we don’t speak English – we speak Afrikaans to one another.’

On how she got her American accent, she said she was told told early in her career that she would never find a job without one. She would leave the TV on watching American shows like Dallas and Dynasty. ‘I would go to auditions and people would say “Can she do an American accent?” and I couldn’t and I didn’t have the money to afford a dialect coach.’

charlize theron

Charlize in Mad Max Fury Road (Rex Features)

Charlize stars in the upcoming action film Atomic Blonde, and from what we’ve seen from the trailers, this is going to be one of her most badass films to date. And that’s saying something: films like Monster, Aeon Flux and Mad Max have shown that she’s a seriously fearless actress. But her latest role isn’t something that just came her way. Charlize has been waiting for a role like this for a long time, and eventually went out and looked for it.

Speaking at Comic Con, Charlize revealed that she finally found it when she saw the script for Atomic Blonde. She shared that she loved the character because she’s a warrior, without needing a reason to be one. Very often lead action roles are driven by a tragic backstory or a quest for revenge. The character she plays, Lorraine, is very different. Lorraine is a top-level MI6 agent, dispatched in Berlin in 1989 to take down a group of underground spies. Without any emotional back story, she is a warrior, a fighter and a killer because that’s what she does best.

From humble beginnings, Charlize is now one of the most recognised faces in the film industry. She has also proved that she is a master at all genres, starring in sci-fi, action and drama, moving from one to the other with ease. Watch the trailer for Atomic Blonde below, out in cinemas 18 August 2017.