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Anya Taylor-Joy brings ‘hope’ amid ‘Mad Max’ chaos

April 11, 20243 Mins Read


LAS VEGAS – When “Mad Max” mastermind George Miller brings the Wasteland – and his newest heroine – to Sin City, engines are revved and minds are blown.

Miller, the director who kicked off his doomsday franchise with Mel Gibson in 1979’s “Mad Max,” was on hand with stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth to showcase a sneak peek of his new prequel “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (in theaters May 24) at CinemaCon. The convention of studios and theater owners got a glimpse at the wild backstory of Furiosa, played in the new film by Taylor-Joy and by Charlize Theron in 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

“This is the story of one woman’s relentless commitment to hope – and that hope is not quashed,” Taylor-Joy said during a Warner Bros. panel.

‘Furiosa’: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth battle in ‘Mad Max’ prequel trailer

Miller presented new footage that delved into the plot: While “Fury Road” took place over three days, “Furiosa” is around 16 years, as young Furiosa is nabbed from the Green Place of Many Mothers by a biker horde led by over-the-top warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth).

Her mother sacrifices herself trying to save Furiosa, and the girl makes a promise to protect her homeland, as she learns how to be a warrior – and how to drive heavy-metal hot rods like a champ – and finds herself in the middle of a struggle for Wasteland dominance between Dementus and the formidable Immortan Joe. The footage offered some throwbacks to “Fury Road,” with War Boys and other familiar faces alongside action-packed vehicular carnage, but with a more emotional element, given Furiosa’s harrowing journey and quest for vengeance.

“Anya needed to be someone who you could spend all those months with in the wasteland. If the apocalypse came, she’d be one of the ones you’d want to hang out with,” Miller said of casting Taylor-Joy as the “resolute and intelligent” Furiosa.

And Miller wanted Hemsworth as Dementus because “I thought, this guy has basically a lot of Dementus to him,” the director said with a laugh. Hemsworth described his character as “cruel” but interwove aspects that would make him a leader of men. There were “layers of charm and wit and humor, but a darkness to it.” Dementus is able “to disarm people and earn their trust through a twisted sense of humor.”

Being a part of Miller’s “organized chaos” was a dream role for Hemsworth, who watched “Mad Max” movies with his dad growing up in Australia. In their homeland, “George Miller was this godlike figure, not just in the film world but my household.”

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