Charlize Theron says she joined Arrested Development to save her career from Aeon Flux flop

Charlize Theron has revealed that her stint on Arrested Development likely saved her from Hollywood jail after her 2005 sci-fi action flick Aeon Flux flopped with critics and audiences.

"It was one of the scariest things, to walk onto a set of a show that's so developed and so brilliant. But I think I needed that, to put myself out there in a different way, because people thought of me as someone who was f---ing depressing," Theron recently told The Hollywood Reporter, discussing how she navigated the industry the year after her Oscar victory for 2003's Monster.

She continued, "I just f---ing 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 [the 2005 action flick] Aeon Flux was going to be a f---ing flop. I knew it from the beginning. That's why I did Arrested Development."

The actress appeared as Michael Bluth's (Jason Bateman) British love interest, Rita Leeds, in several episodes of the beloved Fox sitcom's third season, which ran from 2005 to 2006 and crossed over with Aeon Flux's theatrical run.

Theron admitted that she fought "until the bitter end" to salvage director Karyn Kusama's adaptation of MTV's 1991 animated TV series during its production, but she ultimately did not have "the answers for how" to fix it.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Rita (guest-star Charlize Theron); Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Rita (guest-star Charlize Theron); Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux

Isabella Vosmikova/FOX; Everett Collection Charlize Theron said she did 'Arrested Development' to save her career from her 'Aeon Flux' flop.

"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 s--- 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 said. "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."

Though the Paramount project was highly anticipated because of the series' cult popularity, Theron's recent Oscar win, and Kusama's breakout success as the director of 2000's Girlfight, the film ultimately grossed $52 million worldwide on a reported $62 million budget and notched a mere 9 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Kusama called Aeon Flux an "eviscerating" experience in a 2016 interview with BuzzFeed.

"There was a sense everyone was in the dark about what does it mean to be a woman behind, at the time, what was a very high-profile assignment," she said. "It had been budgeted at something insane that the studio didn't want to make it for, like, $110 million. And so they said, 'Can you basically make it for half that?' But that was still a really big movie to be my second movie, and a really big movie to be any woman's movie."

The publication reported that Kusama was later removed from the post-production process as new editors were brought in to streamline the film.

"I felt like I was having, like, open-heart surgery without the painkillers," she said. "This is where gender plays a part. This is where big personalities and power and influence really make a difference. Because I just didn't have anyone who could advocate for why it was important that they treat me better. There are so few playbooks to go by in my situation. It was kind of like I was in this primeval forest."

Both women found success after Aeon Flux: Kusama went on to helm three consecutive critical hits including Jennifer's Body, The Invitation, and Destroyer before producing the smash series Yellowjackets, while Theron scored two more Oscar nods (for North Country and Bombshell) in addition to fronting popular titles like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Old Guard, and later entries in the Fast and Furious franchise.

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