SAN DIEGO — Charlize Theron has a message to audiences: See female-driven movies, and studios will make more.
"I always say to studios, 'Make more female-driven movies,' " Theron said. "They said, 'We would if people go and see them.' So go see those movies!"
Theron gave a wide-ranging talk at Comic-Con on Saturday in promotion of her upcoming film "Atomic Blonde" in which she addressed the Hollywood pay gap, her own pet peeves about female action star clichés and whether or not she'd be open to playing a female James Bond, now that even Doctor Who has been made into a woman.
On the Bond question, posed in a statement by her old co-star Chris Hemsworth, Theron said she's "all for it," but is fine "leaving that one over to Daniel (Craig) or Idris (Elba)."
"I'll do Lorraine," she said in reference to her "Atomic Blonde" character — a ruthless British spy on a mission in Berlin near the end of the Cold War.
"I think that this character is someone who can hopefully live and breathe in that same format," Theron added.
"Atomic Blonde" hits theaters on July 28 and is a project Theron has been developing for years. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly writer Sara Vilkomerson in Comic-Con's Hall H, Theron said that she was waiting around for something very specific and when that role wasn't coming to her, she went out in search for it. She and her production team found an unpublished graphic novel that would become the film.
Theron likes Lorraine because she is a bit of an enigma. One of her quibbles with action films centered on female protagonists is that the characters are always given a backstory or a justification for why they became warriors.
"We don't need to lose a child or a husband or have some kind of revenge story to become a warrior," Theron said. "(Lorraine) exists. She's simply her. We don't ever over-explain why she exists or why she's any good at her job."
Going along with the theme of female empowerment, Theron also celebrated director Patty Jenkins' success with "Wonder Woman." Jenkins directed Theron in her Oscar-winning performance in "Monster" 17 years ago.
"We need to have more women make these movies for sure," Theron said. She hopes that "Wonder Woman's" success and that of "Atomic Blonde" will help move the needle in getting more female-driven movies made and more movies from female directors.
Theron also addressed the issue of the gender pay gap in Hollywood, saying that she put her foot down with "The Huntsman: Winter's War," where she demanded to have the same pay as Hemsworth. Universal Pictures executives did not even argue with her, she said.
She acknowledged too that she is in a unique position where she can pick and choose roles and when she works, and that not all actresses have that luxury. "With social media, we need to keep this conversation going," Theron said.