Why Mad Max: Fury Road Resonates With Charlize Theron In The Age Of COVID-19

Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) drives Nux, Capable and The Splendid Angharad in Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road’s arid, post-apocalyptic landscape was the perfect backdrop for its high-octane action sequences. In the five years since it was released though, the world has experienced some pretty monumental events -- including a global pandemic that’s made many of us rethink how we see the world. So it’s not surprising that Charlize Theron thinks Mad Max: Fury Road’s themes resonate even more in the wake of COVID-19 than it did when it first hit theaters.

In Mad Max: Fury Road, gas and water are in short supply. Charlize Theron plays Imperator Furiosa, a rebel leader who teams up with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) to disempower Immortan Joe, the ruthless cult leader who controls both commodities’ distribution. While the movie is basically a non-stop adrenaline rush built around a prolonged road battle, it also centers heavily on the power of people coming together to fight for not only their survival but others’ as well.

Charlize Theron recently hosted a drive-in charity screening of Mad Max: Fury Road to benefit the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. In addition to sharing a throwback video of the moment she shaved her head for the movie, she spoke (via The Hollywood Reporter) about how the movie feels especially relevant today:

We’re basically dressed like Tom Hardy in the film. We’re wearing muzzles to protect ourselves. I always felt like this story was a cautionary tale. It feels so imminent. The story of the search for community and belonging and finding your tribe really resonated with me. We need to do better. We need to take care of each other.

It’s an interesting observation. When COVID-19 first began to spread around the world, cinephiles were quick to point out how much the crisis reminded them of movies like Contagion and likened it to other post-apocalyptic movies like Children of Men or Outbreak. There are definitely real-world parallels to be seen in Mad Max: Fury Road, too though -- from the importance of wearing a mask to protect ourselves to the struggle to find basic supplies.

Charlize Theron’s thoughts about needing to take care of each other also feel pretty appropriate. In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there’s been a lot of debate about how it should be handled. Many celebrities have urged the importance of staying safe, whether it’s through promoting social distancing or donating money to those in need. However you cut it, there have been plenty of reasons to think about how our communities work around the world.

Keeping philanthropic efforts alive without breaking COVID-19 safety best practices is one way Charlize Theron is doing her part to take care of other people. She also, maybe unintentionally, gave us at least one reason to stay home this summer -- her Netflix movie The Old Guard is a huge hit around the world.

Katherine Webb