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After gaining 30-plus pounds for her Academy Award winning role as Aileen Wuarnos in “Monster,” Theron was seeking something completely different as her next role. Thus, she was eager to take on the physical challenges of “Aeon Flux.” To help her lose the weight, and get ready for the part, she worked with an amazing group of trainers, including stunt co-ordinator Charlie Croughwell, Cirque du Soleil gymnast Terry Bartlett, who guided her through the acrobatic, tempoline and wire work, Miko Saito to help with strength training and other stunt work, and Neal “Xingu” Rodil, who trained her in the Brazilian art of Capoeira.

“Charlize traveled to Brazil with her boyfriend Stuart Townsend,” Rodil tells Dish, “and he actually discovered Capoeira and fell in love with it, and took a few classes in Brazil when they were on vacation. When Charlize got back, and decided to do this movie, she said right away she wanted to do Capoeira. The producers found out about me through word of mouth, so I had a round of interviews and they liked me, and so I started teaching her.”

Fortunately for Rodil, Theron had been trained in ballet. “I was a ballerina for 12 years,” she says. “For years I did that, just using my body. For me, the physical aspect is as important as any line of dialogue.

“When I found out that she had ballet training, I figured she probably knew how to bring her legs up,” Rodil says, “But I still had to teach her how to kick and have tension in her movements. We would do a lot of partnering drills, and that would involve a call and response, an acting technique, where I would kick and she would have to duck, and she would kick at me and I would have to duck. It has the same mentality as an acting drill, so that was the cool part. Since she’s a good actress she understood that part very well, the interaction.”

None-the-less, time was short, and Theron was overweight after playing serial killer Wuarmos in “Monster.” Rodil continues, “Usually an actor or an actress has a year or two to prepare for this kind of movie, with a lot of physical demand on the body. Charlize only had 31/2 months to get ready for this. And remember, Aeon Flux is very lean and muscular, based on the cartoon on MTV. She had to learn to do all the martial arts techniques and moves without getting winded.”

“The most exciting thing for me was the speed with which she progressed in such a short amount of time. She got to the point where she was doing dance techniques that would take some people that I have been teaching about two or three years to do, and she was getting it in a month, 2 months, 3 months. Her learning curve is very high.”

Still, the intense training wasn’t very easy for Theron. “Her body had to get used to the moves and the conditioning. So sometimes she would come in so sore she couldn’t walk. That was the hardest part.”

Apparently, every day was a fun day with her. “She is a very fun person to be around. She’s very humble, she works hard but at the same time she knows how to relax and she tells a lot of jokes. What I was impressed with was her mom Berda would come and visit almost every day, and friends of hers that were close to her, so it created this kind of family environment where everybody was just kind of having a good time, at the same time we were still getting the job done.” / Issue 51 - September 7876
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