May 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM ET
Charlize Theron fans have a lot to buzz about lately: For one thing, the actress is continuing her shift toward comedy with the raunchy new movie "A Million Ways to Die In the West." And on a more personal level, she's opening up about her relationship with fellow Oscar winner Sean Penn.
Theron and Penn were longtime friends before becoming a couple earlier this year. The actress confided to TODAY’s Matt Lauer Tuesday that she’s “not an expert” on making that transition.
"If you have that kind of enduring friendship like we did, you value it and you don't want to just make an impulsive decision that can damage that," she explained. "You always kind of have to evaluate or re-evaluate your actions moving forward."
While Theron is serious about romantic relationships, she has no trouble getting silly at work — with help from her comedic collaborators. Of "West" producer/director/writer/co-star Seth MacFarlane, she said, "He's a real guy; he's not 'on.' He's not trying to be funny; he just naturally is."
Theron added that she'd like to make more films like "West," and that her friends have encouraged her to let her funny side shine. "I'm not a very overly dramatic person; I'm a bit of a dork," she chuckled. "Everybody who knows me always says, 'Why don't you do comedy? You fall really well!'"
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" will be in theaters on May 30.