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ON THE RISE

She was soon starring alongside Hollywood's favourite leading men,
such as Keanu Reeves



Charlize was discovered in true Tinseltown style, in a scene that could be straight from a Hollywood script. A talent manager who happened to coincide with her at an LA bank watched in awe as the statuesque blonde threw "a little tantrum" when a teller wouldn't cash a cheque. "I don't know what you do," he told Charlize, "but if you're interested in acting, here's my card".

She shed her South African accent and scored roles in Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do and The Devil's Advocate alongside Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino. (A guardian angel, she says, helped her miss out on the lead role in the spectacular flop Showgirls.) But, unlike the knee problems that thwarted her ballet career, it wasn't injury that complicated Charlize's road to Oscar glory it was an orange dress.

Casting directors apparently felt she fitted into the "too beautiful" category and was, therefore, unemployable as a serious actress after she stole the show in a form-fitting tangerine gown at the 2000 Academy Awards. "I can't tell you how many times I auditioned for a role, only to have my agent come back and say, 'Listen, Charlize, they saw you in the orange dress and they don't think you can do it'," she recalled.
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