Charlize Theron recalls a "dorky" encounter with her director Jason Reitman, who later cast her in "Young Adult."
The film hits most theaters on December 16. Theron, 35, plays a young adult fiction writer named Mavis Gary who returns to her hometown to win back her high school sweetheart, portrayed by Patrick Wilson, who is happily married with a newborn.
"Young Adult" is the second film collaboration between Reitman and Diablo Cody, who wrote the script for his 2007 hit "Juno." Their collaboration earned Cody an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Reitman a nomination for Best Director. Reitman was also nominated for three Academy Awards for his work on "Up in the Air."
"I briefly, briefly met Jason [Reitman] at the Oscars, the year that 'Up In The Air' was nominated, for like three seconds and I did that dorky thing," Theron said in a promotional video interview provided by Paramount Pictures.
"I truly loved the film and you feel like an idiot but you have to just acknowledge it and do that thing where you're like, 'I have to tell you how much I love that film,'" she said. "And then I think it was like two months later that we were at the same place, in separate meetings and we ran into each other and he said, 'I read this script last night that you would be great for and I'm thinking this will be my next film.'"
Reitman said there was a good chance he would never have made the movie had Theron declined the role.
Theron is also an Oscar winner - she won the prize for Best Leading Actress for her role as a serial killer in the 2003 film "Monster." She told the Associated Press that "Young Adult" was "way more my personality and closer to anything that I've done."
"I've always said that I'm not at all character-driven, not at all, and I'm not walking around with a dream character that I'm dying to play," Theron said in Paramount's interview. "My biggest lesson that I learned in my career is that you can have great material but if you don't have a director that inspires you and a director that's capable of doing it, it doesn't matter."
"Also for me, I need to have that in order to fully trust someone, when they say in two takes, 'That's it,' that you can walk away from that and go, 'I trust you completely and utterly,'" the actress added. "It's chemistry, just as much as it is with actors, it's really important to have chemistry with directors and Jason and I could not be more similar when it comes to work ethic and I like to work, so logistic-wise, we work exactly the same way."
In "Young Adult," Theron's character also grows close to a former classmate who she doesn't remember, Matt Freehauf, played by Patton Oswalt. The two end up bonding over their shared disdain for most things.
"Matt is the character who I kind of ignore in high school since Mavis is kind of a popular girl, so when she runs into him in town, she really doesn't remember him and then of course remembers him through making some horrible, politically-incorrect comment towards him," Theron said.
"I think the movie works on many levels because of that relationship because it is such an odd couple kind of finding each other and the packages that they both kind of come in ... in real life even, you would just be like, 'Those people would never, ever have anything in common with each other or want to go drinking together, but yet that's all they have to do,'" she said.
Theron grew up in a small farm town in South Africa. Her last name is pronounced "Thron" in Afrikaans, which was her first language. When she was 15, her mother, Gerda, shot and killed the actress' alcoholic father, Charles, in self-defense. Theron, an only child, is named after him.
"It was a huge tragedy in my life," Theron said on the show "Inside The Actors Studio" in 2004. "I've been fortunate enough to be kind of brought to this place where I can actually have this experience with acting where I can make sense of my life and maybe that's therapy for other people or meditation ... for me, it's experiencing emotion, confusion, loss or any emotion through a character."
Theron worked as a model in Milan and also studied at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City before she pursued an acting career. She made her official big-screen debut in 1996 with the films "2 Days in the Valley" and "That Thing You Do!." She later appeared in movies like "The Devil's Advocate" and "The Cider House Rules" before she was cast in "Monster." She also played Rita on the cult series "Arrested Development" and starred in the 2008 film "Hancock."
Theron recently finished shooting Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," and is currently filming "Snow White and the Huntsman." She plays the Evil Queen opposite Kristen Stewart, who stars as Snow White.
Check out the trailer for "Young Adult" below.