Charlize Theron talks about how seeing the first John Wick film inspired her to reach out to David Leitch to direct Atomic Blonde. The film – which hit theaters last Friday – is just the latest in a growing line of films cementing Theron as one of the greatest action stars of her generation, female or otherwise. Based on The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, the film follows Theron as MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, who is sent to East Berlin just a few weeks before the Berlin Wall will be torn down in 1989, where she meets up and butts heads with James McAvoy’s David Percival.
But once she arrives, Lorraine must fight her way through all kinds of enemies, in order to retrieve a list of all KGB, CIA, and MI6 agents working undercover before it gives the KGB enough ammunition to keep the Cold War going forever. After receiving mostly positive early reviews leading up to its release, Atomic Blonde has been performing fairly well for itself at the box office, even despite facing off against more mainstream titles like The Emoji Movie and Dunkirk.
While recently appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Theron revealed it was actually only after she had seen the first John Wick film that she began discussing making Atomic Blonde with director David Leitch, who had co-directed the first Wick with Chad Stahelski:
“I like those movies. It was actually because of the first one that I reached out to David Leitch, the director, he was one of the directors of the first John Wick. I am a huge fan of those films, and I think Keanu is incredible in that whole genre.”
While on the surface, Atomic Blonde has the plot and setting that would make it seem more like a John le Carré spy novel than a John Wick-style action thriller, it’s clear by Theron’s comments here that she was more interested in it being the latter from the very beginning. And indeed, Leitch managed to infuse the same style and eye for action choreography that he brought to John Wick into Atomic Blonde, with the film even reuniting him with cinematographer, Jonathan Sela.
The film’s combination of traditional espionage elements and John Wick style has not necessarily won over everyone who’s seen it up until this point, but Atomic Blonde has still managed to garner universal acclaim for both its impressive action setpieces and Theron’s lead performance as Broughton. There have even been conversations of a possible crossover featuring Theron’s Broughton and Keanu Reeves’ Wick, though, the likelihood of it actually happening is small, to say the least. And should Atomic Blonde do well enough to spawn a sequel or two, it’s incredibly possible that Lorraine Broughton could turn out to be for Theron, what John Wick has been for Reeves.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Atomic Blonde release date: Jul 28, 2017