Taking Command

Charlize TheronAfter years and years and years of development, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road finally hits the big screen on May 14. We chat to two of its stars. First up, the eternally impeccable Charlize Theron, who plays bad-ass commander Imperator Furiosa.

Tell us about your character.

I play Furiosa. I spent a lot of time talking with George [Miller, director] about where she came from and how she ended up in this world because what’s great about this movie is that you kind of feel like you’re picking up in the middle of a very unexplained world. We know what this kind of world is but it’s not a prequel or a sequel it’s just kind of a homage. We don’t know where these characters are really coming from, even Max.

And your character has a shaved head.

I love the idea of a woman with a shaved head who looks like one of the war boys and kidnaps these five beautiful, innocent girls, and looks like she’s going to take them over the hill and murder them. It was something very intriguing for me.

There was this instant connection, I felt this had to be a great story of revenge or some very embedded pain. We never really dived too much into it in this film, I think George is trying to save some of that stuff to peel back later. In this film we’re just trying to tie these very complex characters into a three-day war.

Some of the action scenes look real and dangerous rather than being shot in front of green screens on a sound stage.

It was almost too practical. Every day the whole situation was so unpredictable for me. But every day you kind of showed up and you really didn’t have a clear understanding of it. It felt like the whole movie was one big scene. Every day I just showed up and I could be falling out of the truck or could be stabbed or I could be in a fight scene, I don’t know what. That was sometimes very overwhelming.

It seems female characters play a pretty significant part in this film.

It really covers the gamut between a 16-year-old girl and an 82-year-old woman and one becoming the other in this very complex, hard world. Selfishly I feel like us women had the great pleasure of really being completely, supremely complex. It was fantastic to see these ladies in their sixties and seventies with sawn-off shotguns and braids in their hair in the desert.