Charlize Theron credits director Taylor Hackford for kick-starting her Hollywood career after he fought studio bosses to hire her for the Devil's Advocate.
The Oscar winner made her big screen breakthrough in the hit 1997 horror as Mary Ann Lomax opposite Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino, who played the Devil.
But Theron wasn't popular with studio bosses, who dismissed the actress as "too pretty" to tackle the harrowing role.
And Theron has praised Hackford for sticking by her throughout the audition process, and thanks him for putting her at ease on set.
She tells CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, "Taylor Hackford, the director of that film, cast me after several screen tests and auditions, and the studio didn't want me, the studio thought I was too pretty. And Taylor really fought for me, he's really an actor's director and I really have to thank him because every moment on that set I never felt like I was treated like a new actor who didn't know anything, he really gave me a stage where I could be a raging maniac."