Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Charlize Theron joined Arrested Development as a career Hail Mary after Aeon Flux flopped

Theron took on the role of Rita Leeds knowing Aeon Flux would perform poorly

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron
Photo: Jon Kopaloff (Getty Images)

Charlize Theron knew her appearance on the sitcom Arrested Development would seem like a surprising choice. After all, the actor had recently won an Oscar for her performance in the 2003 drama Monster, and a guest spot on a network sitcom might seem like a step-down. Still, she knew something terrible was on the horizon: She was the star of Karyn Kusama’s flop Aeon Flux. So, offering her career a lifeboat before it hit an iceberg, she took an unexpected role in Arrested Development.

“I just fucking loved that show, and this is going to sound so ‘poor me,’ but I do feel like sometimes, as women, we get one shot, and I knew that Aeon Flux was going to be a fucking flop,” Theron says in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I knew it from the beginning. That’s why I did Arrested Development.”

Theron took on a recurring role in the show’s third season as Rita Leeds, a love interest of Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) who took up residence in Wee Britain. The two ended up getting engaged before Michael came to the (problematic) realization that Rita had an intellectual disability, which contributed to her kind and imaginative nature.

Advertisement

Theron’s turn as Rita aired in 2005-2006, serving as her attempt to distract audiences from Aeon Flux’s coinciding theatrical run. She says back then, she was not in a position to call the shots on-set nor offer any advice on how to save the flailing project.

“I definitely knew we were in trouble. I wasn’t a producer on it, and I didn’t really have the experience to say what I believe Tom Cruise has maybe said for the past 20 years, which is, ‘Shut this shit down, get four more writers on it, and let’s figure this out.’ Instead, I’m going, ‘Oh God, I’ve just got to get through this day. I have bronchitis, but let’s keep shooting,’” she says. “Now I imagine all these male actors going, ‘Shut it down for six months!’ And it’s like, f—-, no one told me that was an option.”