Charlize Theron is using her childhood in South Africa during the AIDS epidemic and apartheid to help her two daughters understand the coronavirus pandemic and recent unrest over racial justice in the U.S.
Theron, 44, has two adopted daughters, Jackson, 8, and August, 5, who are Black.
"I've had this flashback where I remembered vividly, 'My God, I was eight years old when the AIDS epidemic hit South Africa,'" Theron told Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY.
Apartheid, a system of racial segregation that kept Black South Africans separated from the white population, ended in the early '90s, but not without a struggle. Theron recalled how the country "almost broke out into a civil war."
"(Reflecting on my childhood) helped me in a weird way to kind of navigate how we went about telling my girls what was happening right now, in a way that wouldn't freak them out or scare them or wouldn't feel appropriate, but also felt truthful," she said.
"There's a sense of innocent loss. Like, their innocence, you know, there's a little bit of their innocence that were there before that's not there now," she continued. "But in a weird way, I see how it's empowered them ... and that's a good thing."
Theron added that one of her daughters is more "sensitive" to what's going on in society, while the other is more "proactive."
"We make signs. We have signs in the car, like, she's that kid," Theron said. "I'm trying to have them just do it on their own time."
During lockdown due to the coronavirus, Theron's been enjoying extra time at home with her girls, but like many parents, she found homeschooling to be the most challenging part.
"It was an incredibly stressful time for me and I will make any action movie over and over and over again before I homeschool again," the Oscar winner said.
Theron also discussed with Willie what Hollywood might look like in the future, as more studios try to figure out safe ways to start filming again.
"My industry is a tricky one. It's one of those jobs where it takes a village," she explained. "You need a lot of people in order to do it, and I don't know how we're gonna do that anytime soon in a safe manner."
"I know that a lot of my colleagues are actively trying to, you know, be inventive and trying to figure out ways where we can do that," she continued. "But ... I honestly don't foresee a very, very near future where we're just gonna go back to making films the way we used to."