There have been some wondering whether Atomic Blonde is going to be another film where Hollywood titillated straight male audiences with a bit of lesbian action. The trailers certainly seemed to be keen to show Charlize Theron kissing another woman while ensuring her fight scenes are as sexy as possible.
However, those behind the film seem keen to let people know they’re hoping it will be seen as more than that, as they’re trying to break some of the female action cliches, not least that the main character can get injured and bruised, as she doesn’t fall for the main man.
Theron herself is also keen to point out the fact her character is bisexual is more than just about titillation. She tells Variety, “I just loved it. For so many reasons: My frustration of how that community is represented in cinema, or lack thereof. And also, it made perfect sense. It just suited her. It just felt there was a way through that relationship and the fact that it was a same-sex relationship to show a woman not having to fall in love, which is one of those female tropes. ‘It’s a woman; she better fall in love – otherwise, she’s a whore!’”
She adds of writer Kurt Johnstad’s idea to include this aspect of the character, “It’s one of my most proudest parts of the development, when we came up with that. And then finding Sofia [Boutella], that was a slam dunk. There’s something about her that’s so broken and vulnerable. It works.”
Although the sex scenes are another aspect that could be accused of abjectification, Theron says on them, “James Bond doesn’t have such hot you-know-what. I loved that we didn’t hide under the sheets. Now I’m generalizing. I haven’t seen a lot of the Bond movies lately. I’m sure there’s a lot of hot sex in it.”
Atomic Blonde is out on July 28th.