Theron sees the conflict as largely a question of survival. “Josey enters a world where tensions are already high and where the existing workforce, predominantly men, is threatened by what they see as women coming in and taking their jobs. Bottom line, when survival is at stake, I think people will do what they have to do, and that applies to everyone at the mine, including Josey.”
In casting Theron as Josey, director Niki Caro cites her body of work as well as the power of Theron’s widely acclaimed performance in the 2003 crime biography “Monster,” which earned the actress both Academy and Golden Globe Awards as well as a BAFTA nomination. “A lot of attention was given to her physical transformation in that film, but it was what she was doing emotionally that most impressed and moved me,” Caro says. “It was truly no contest–I wanted Charlize in this role. She proved to be a real collaborator, completely invested in telling the story.”
At about the same time, Theron saw Caro’s acclaimed film “Whale Rider” and loved it, prompting in her a keen interest in working with Caro. “I asked my agent to try setting up a meeting with her for whatever she was doing next and then, unbelievably, five days later I got the call for `North Country,’” Theron relates. “I was ecstatic. I’ve been completely overwhelmed and inspired by the whole experience; there isn’t a word in the dictionary to explain how it felt for me to be a part of this picture.