The actress was completing a series of backflips for the sci-fi action movie when she landed awkwardly on her neck, herniating a disc dangerously close to her spinal chord.
The film was shut down for eight weeks to allow Theron to recover and doctors feared the mishap would leave the actress with limited mobility. She recovered and now accepts that she should leave the heavy stuntwork to the professionals.
She is adamant she will not be putting her health at risk when work starts on the Mad Max remake in Australia later this year (12).
She tells Total Film, “What I learned is that back then I was like, ‘I’ll do it! I’ll do it! I’ll do it!’ and now I know there’s a time and a place. You have to be smart about it and I’ve definitely come to a place in my career where I would be the first to say, without feeling guilty or not badass enough, ‘You know what? I don’t need to do this.’
“It’s wise because I felt guilty for shutting down a production 10 days into shooting for eight weeks.
“That injury scared me – I was almost paralysed. So I’m about to go and do Mad Max: Fury Road with George Miller. That’s going to be physical and I’ve been training. You do everything you can do, but I’m definitely at a place where I can say, ‘I don’t need to do that.'”