Charlize Theron reveals ‘insulting’ request during The Italian Job filming

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Charlize Theron said producers on The Italian Job remake tried to make her do six weeks more car training than her male co-stars.

The Oscar-winning actress appeared in the 2003 heist film alongside a cast including Edward Norton, Jason Statham and Mark Wahlberg – who Theron says threw up after one intense session behind the wheel.

Like the classic 1969 original starring Sir Michael Caine, cars featured heavily in The Italian Job remake – and the stars performed a lot of their own driving.

During a Comic-Con@Home panel looking back at her career as an action movie star, Theron said she was insulted when she realised producers had her down for much more behind-the-wheel training than her male co-stars.

She said: "For sure, The Italian Job was a great experience, in the sense that I realised there was still so much misconception around women in the genre, even though in that film the action is really based on cars.

"We had to physically do a lot of that stuff. The only good thing that came out of that experience was that there was a real pressure to pull off those stunts with the actors.

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(From L) English international David Beckham, South African actress Charlize Theron and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke take part in the World Cup 2010 draw at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town on December 4, 2009. The draw itself sees the 32 teams divided into four pots of eight from which the eight groups that will contest the first round will be drawn. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP via Getty Images)
Actress Charlize Theron (left) with Keanu Reeves at a photocall in London today (Thursday) to promote their new thriller The Devil's Advocate in which they play a young successfull couple opposite Al Pacino. The film opens in the UK on Friday January 16 1998. Photo by Tony Harris/PA. (Photo by Tony Harris - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
(L-R) Actors Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron and James Caan arriving for the Palm d'Or Ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival, France. (Photo by Anthony Harvey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Actors Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron appearing on the MTV TRL UK show, at the MTV studios in camden, north London. (Photo by Anthony Harvey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Charlize Theron with her Best Actress Oscar (left), Sean Penn with his Best Actor Oscar Renee Zellweger with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Tim Robbins with his Best Supporting Actor at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles during the 76th Academy Awards. Charlize was wearing a dress by Tom Ford for Gucci, accessorised with Chopard earrings worth 25,000, and she was carrying a Lana Marks purse worth 50,000. Renee was wearing a dress by Carolina Herrera, accessorised with a diamante Judith Lieber handbag, worth 2000. Renee also wore almost $1 million of Cartier jewels, including a 73-carat oval and pear-shaped diamond necklace, and a 35-carat diamond bracelet. Sean is wearing a suit by Giorgio Armani. (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
(From left to right) actress Britt Ekland with stars of the film, Charlize Theron, Geoffrey Rush, director Stephen Hopkins, Emily Watson and Sonia Aquino arrive for the premiere of The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers at the Palais de Festival during the 57th Cannes Film Festival in France. (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
(From left to right) director Stephen Hopkins, co-stars Charlize Theron, Geoffrey Rush, and Emily Watson arrive at the HBO party for The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers at Martinez Beach during the 57th Cannes Film Festival in France. (Photo by Anthony Harvey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Actress Charlize Theron arrives for premiere of Irwin Winklers 'De-Lovely' at the Palais de Festival during the 57th Cannes film Festival in France. (Photo by Anthony Harvey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Charlize Theron (R) and mom Gerda during Charlize Theron Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Her Achievements in Film at Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Johnny Grant, Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, and Charlize Theron (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
The stars of the film Sean Bean and Charlize Theron, during a photocall for 'North Country', at The Dorchester Hotel in central London, Wednesday 1 February 2006. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok / PA (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON - FEBRUARY 19: Actress Charlize Theron arrives at The Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) at the Odeon Leicester Square on February 19, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 13: Charlize Theron signs autographs at the Red Carpet premiere of "In The Valley Of Elah" at the Arclight Cinemas on September 13, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 06: Actress Charlize Theron arrives at Overture Films' screening of "Sleepwalking" held at the Director's Guild of America on March 6, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Overture)
Cast members Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman (L-R) pose at the movie premiere of "Hancock" at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 30, 2008. The movie opens in the U.S. on July 2. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)
AP OUT Charlize Theron arriving by boat for a photocall for the film 'The Burning Plain', at the Palazzo del Casino on Venice Lido, Italy, during the 65th Venice Film Festival. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Charlize Theron is interviewed by Richard and Judy for their TV series 'Richard & Judy's New Position' (TX: Thursday March 5, 2009 @ 1800 on Watch) at the Cactus TV Studios in Kennington, south west London. (Photo by Zak Hussein - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
England's name is shown by FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke as Charlize Theron looks on during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Draw at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gareth Copley/PA Images via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 14: Actress Charlize Theron attends BAFTA Los Angeles' 18th annual Awards Season Tea Party held at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 14, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images For BAFTA Los Angeles)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 17: Actress Charlize Theron lifts her drink for a toast during The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Los Angeles Gala at the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott on March 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 26: Actress Charlize Theron accepts the Distinguished Decade of Achievement in Film Award at the CinemaCon awards ceremony at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners April 26, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Getty Images)
Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth And Charlize Theron Arriving For The World Premiere Of Snow White And The Huntsman At The Empire And Odeon Cinemas In Leicester Square, London. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Graham Norton (back), with (left right) Jon Hamm, Charlize Theron and Steve Coogan on the Graham Norton show at the London Studios in London. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
Charlize Theron Arriving At The World Premiere Of Prometheus At The Empire Leicester Square In London. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 2: Charlize Theron arrives at the 86th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
Sean Penn (L) and Charlize Theron (R) arrive at the Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art May 5, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
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"And that was the first time I experienced anything like that. But, there was a very unfair process that went with that. I was the only woman with a bunch of guys and I remember vividly getting the schedule in our pre-production and they had scheduled me for six weeks more car training than any of the guys.

"And it was just so insulting. But it was also the thing that put a real fire under my ass. And I was like 'alright, you guys wants to play this game? Let's go'. And I made it a point to out drive all of those guys."

Theron said she was proud of her driving in the film, and claimed the intense training sessions behind the wheel led to Hollywood leading man Wahlberg pulling over and throwing up.

After completing one particularly impressive stunt, Theron said: "It was a huge moment of feeling like 'yeah, we can do all of that stuff'. And women are so unfairly thought of or treated when it comes to the genre."

South Africa-born Theron, 44, discussed her wider career during the panel and reflected on how Hollywood had changed since she entered the industry.

She won her best actress Oscar for a portrayal of a serial killer in 2003's Monster and then went on to make action movie Aeon Flux, which was a critical and commercial failure.

However, Theron, whose latest film The Old Guard has proved to be a hit on Netflix, said the perception of female action stars has since changed.

She added: "The good news now is that we've kind of changed the genre for women. I think there's great evidence where we now know you can't hide behind ignorance anymore. Audiences love these films."

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