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Charlize Theron on Sleepwalking

Published March 12, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Overture Films.
Sleepwalking is another little indie film that lets Charlize Theron play a damaged character, where Hollywood would rather she just be the pretty girlfriend. To get movies like this made, Theron has to produce them herself.

Charlize Theron Sleepwalking

"It was material that was submitted to my company," she said. "We really liked it. We had a couple of things going at the time and I have a few great mentors, producing mentors, in the business and I always kind of talk to them about projects that I’m thinking about. I brought this up to a few of them who I highly regard their opinion and they said, 'You know you’re asking for trouble.' And it’s true. These projects are incredibly hard to make. I think independent filmmaking has changed, you know, we make independent films now for $25 million. So, it’s tough to get the ones below five, below four, especially when you’re talking about somewhat high risk, what they consider high risk material."

Theron plays Joleen, a struggling single mother who abandons her daughter while she comes up with some vague plan to save them. "As a producer I just kind of felt I can’t get stuck in that and if I’m emotionally tapped into something I have to kind of go by that guide. So we slowly started searching around for financing and we were incredibly lucky, I mean really, really lucky. We weren’t going to find a financier that was going to invest in this because it was going to make a lot of money. We needed somebody who really kind of tapped into it the same way we did, and so we couldn’t have asked for better financiers [than Film Engine.]"

Though the plan is never identified in the film, Theron revealed her intentions. She thought JoLeen was looking for a man to come back and play daddy. Of course, she'd rope him in as a single chick, then spring the daughter on him.

Sleepwalking Poster Sleepwalking

"My analogy was always I had been fascinated by people who lose a lot of weight. A couple of people that I’ve kind of known closely who went through it was kind of an interesting psychological experience to watch somebody lose a lot weight and then somehow kind of go back into that same lifestyle. This excitement, this joy when they have like a gastric bypass surgery or something but somehow they still see themselves as like the fat person, but before they have the surgery they actually really truly believe that once they lose the weight all their problems will be solved. That’s just not how life works and once they lose the weight they realize that and that’s why they go back and they gain the weight. That was my analogy for Joleen, except for her it was a man."

The film also deals with Joleen's brother, played by Nick Stahl, who acts more submissive towards her dominant personality. "From what I’ve researched, it tends to be the older sibling. The older sibling becomes much more aggressive than the younger sibling. The younger sibling almost completely retreats. This is around 80% of the cases that I’ve studied and it tends to be because the older sibling usually goes through more abuse and tends to become the protector. It’s almost sometimes harder for them to break the cycle than it is for the younger and the middle sibling. So that was actually written in the script and we felt very true to what I’ve actually studied as far as that, but it’s not so much a female/male thing, because I’ve seen males, older males, act out exactly the same way, becoming incredibly aggressive."

Sleepwalking opens to theaters March 14th.

For the trailer and more movie info, go to the Sleepwalking Movie Page.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Overture Films.

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