If you’d worked as body doubles for the likes of Charlize Theron, Cara Delevingne and X-Men‘s Rebecca Romijn like world-famous Canadian trainer Monique Ganderton has, it’s safe to say you’d know a thing or two about what it takes to make an actress look like a highly trained killer, fighter and superhero on screen.
But fortunately for Monique, whose latest film Atomic Blonde saw her training and standing in for Oscar-winner Charlize Theron in her role as elite MI6 spy Lorraine Broughton, Theron was able to pack a fair few punches of her own.
Speaking to ELLE UK during a break from the gym, Ganderton revealed exactly what makes Charlize stand out from other female actresses she’s worked with over the years.
‘She gets how actually hard it is,’ she says. ‘There are actors that come in and do a fight sequence, but when they have to fall on the ground or take a tag to the belly a bit too hard, they’re shocked at how real it is.’
‘Charlize is tough. She knows she’s going to get tagged, but also when to keep her distance. If something goes wrong in a film, she has the confidence to pull it back together,’ she explains.
On-set mishaps were a phenomenon Theron knew all too well during the filming for her up-coming action film.
CHARLIZE IS TOUGH. SHE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO GET TAGGED BUT ALSO KNOWS WHEN TO KEEP HER DISTANCE
At the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, she admitted to cracking two teeth, bruising her ribs and twisting a knee while filming the stunts.
However, Ganderton points out that the South-African born star isn’t stupid when it comes to putting her health on the line for the sake of a film.
‘She’s smart. She does what she needs to do to sell the shot. If a guy is slamming her against a wall and you see her face, she’ll sell that, but if it’s in the dark and [the camera] is behind her back, there’s no reason for her to be thrown into a wall.
‘It’s not about ego, it’s about getting the best shot and being efficient. I would go in whenever it was efficient to have a stunt double,’ she adds.
When it comes to doing her own stunts on set – a skill director David Leitch claims puts Theron in the ‘top one per centile of actors do to their own action’– Ganderton admitted she was most impressed with Charlize’s fighting skills.
‘She has a great front kick and elbow so we used it.
‘The choreography in the film is quite simple, but it could be the most amazing martial arts scene of all time but if you don’t put that acting on top of it, nobody cares.