Cinephiles gathered at NeueHouse Hollywood on Friday night to reminisce over the Nineties cult film “2 Days in the Valley” and to hear its star Charlize Theron recount what it was like to be 19 years old and appearing in her first film. The CineFamily screening in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary brought Theron back together with writer-director John Herzfeld, production designer Catherine Hardwicke and costar Glenne Headly.
At the post-screening Q&A, Theron recalled the beginning of her career saying, “I had been in L.A. for about 10 months. I really didn’t know where my life was going to go. I was so intrigued by this aspect of storytelling, even though I wasn’t crystal clear about what it was. I think my naivety and stupidity kind of helped me in a weird way. And John was crazy enough to give me the job.”
Though it was only her third audition ever — Herzfeld also played the tape for audiences, to Theron’s amusement — the former ballet dancer and model nailed it. As Herzfeld recalled, “I looked at her and said to myself, ‘This is a movie star.’” The normally Dior-clad movie star showed up in her favorite off-duty look of skinny jeans and a chambray shirt for the casual affair.
Beyond having the instinct to cast a future Academy Award winner, Herzfeld also had an eye for wardrobe. “I wanted Charlize with no broken lines. I wanted a white outfit. I talked with Betsy Heimann, the great costume designer who had done ‘Pulp Fiction’ and I said ‘Lets just not break anything up. I just want to see.’”
Before wrapping the night, Theron got serious saying, “You get emotional about this stuff. Twenty years later, you’re looking at your life and you have to be grateful. You sometimes look at things like, ‘I don’t even know how that happened.’ My journey is so bizarre, but I’m so grateful to John and the actors that I got to work with on that job to teach me about light and marks. That was really where I discovered all of that.”