Charlize Theron dazzled exhibitors twice at CinemaCon on Wednesday: in the spy thriller “Atomic Blonde,” and as the villainess in “The Fate of the Furious.”
Footage from “Atomic Blonde” received two showings at the annual gathering of theater owners — first at Universal’s morning presentation and then again a few hours later as the conclusion to the Focus Features presentation. Focus is the specialty division of Universal.
Theron stars in and produces “Atomic Blonde,” formerly called “The Coldest City,” and set in Berlin in 1989 on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. She plays a spy from MI6 sent to take down an espionage ring.
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The 10 minutes of footage showed Theron taking down six different spies at close range in an apartment building staircase, with an array of judo throws, punches, stabbings, and shootings. After the footage concluded, Theron reassured the crowd, “I’m okay!”
Theron admitted that getting in shape at the age of 40 for the shoot by director David Leitch was arduous.
“I’m a tall girl; I can look like Big Bird easily,” she admitted. “I worked for three hours a day for three months and there were some days that I could not get out of bed.”
Focus also screened footage from Gary Oldman’s “Darkest Hour,” focusing on the early months of Winston Churchill’s tenure as British prime minister as the Nazis launched a full-scale attack on the British Isles.
Oldman said it was daunting to portray Churchill, who he characterized as the greatest British citizen. “We see how very close we came to surrendering to Nazi tyranny,” Oldman noted.
“Winston was a hard one to wrap your head around,” he added. “I spent over 200 hours in makeup, at least three hours a day for 48 straight days.”
“Darkest Hour,” directed by Joe Wright, launches in November.
The presentation also included director Colin Trevorrow and star Naomi Watts touting the family drama “Book of Henry,” which also stars Sarah Silverman and Jacob Tremblay. It opens June 16.
“I promise that it will gross as much as the third Tuesday of ‘Jurassic World,’ ” said Trevorrow, who directed both movies.
Focus also showed footage from Sofia Coppola’s period drama “The Beguiled,” set at a girls boarding school during the Civil War with Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell appearing on stage. “There’s so much sexual tension,” Coppola said.