Gringo

Charlize Theron and David Oyelowo gave us five essential facts about ‘Gringo’

It's a dark and very silly farce set in Mexico

1. It very subtly encourages the legalisation of weed

Charlize: “I was a pothead for many years – I have not been for many years – but I might reconsider going back now that there’s so many different strains. I don’t give a f**k, I’ve seen what medical marijuana has done for people with severe health issues. My mum suffered with a foot condition for years – she couldn’t play sports until I bought her a marijuana cream. We have to educate ourselves a little bit more and not generalise drugs. When you look at examples in the Netherlands and in many other parts of the world where we have decriminalised drugs, and we look at addicts and treat them the same we do people with diabetes, you have a healthier society. Until you take that criminalised element out of it, it will always be a roblem.
And there will be violence around it. And… we’re gonna smoke a joint.”
David: “Absolutely, let’s do it.”
Charlize: “I’m just gonna rub my mum’s foot cream on you.”

2. Harold’s immigrant status grounds the film’s absurdity

David: “In the original script, [Oyelowo’s character] Harold’s name was Harold Salinger; you saw this dweeby, nerdy guy who’s a bit gormless – and that in and of itself isn’t that interesting to play. Where does that come from? Why is he naive? Why so trusting? I think anyone who is an immigrant, or the child of immigrants, knows there’s something about being in a country outside of your comfort zone that means you trust people probably more than you should. So much of what Harold Soyinka goes through suddenly felt more believable than before. I saw that in my parents, who emigrated to the UK, and I emigrated [to the US] with my kids 11 years ago. It just felt truthful to me.”

3. Charlize’s rude lines made her apologise all the time

Charlize: “They’re all f**king terrible. The first three days on this movie, I found myself apologising profusely to our crew, to our actors, to Nash [Edgerton, director]… I was literally in the service table getting my lunch, like, ‘Sorry I said that today.’”

4. Elaine’s slinky is a powerful symbol of her disdain

Charlize: “I played around with a couple of things, but this Slinky I liked just because it was a f**king toy and she was paying more attention to that than an actual human being standing in front of her.”
David: “It made me feel small.”
Charlize: “That’s what I was aiming for.”

5. They got social commentary into an action film

David: “I was looking for something lighter, but I didn’t want to do something that was self-consciously funny. Nash and I were able to push the script further by making Harold a Nigerian immigrant – which is something you really don’t see every day. Even within an action-comedy we managed to get social commentary in there.”