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Mad Max's George Miller Reveals Why He Cast Anya Taylor-Joy For The Furiosa Movie

2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road may have seen Tom Hardy succeeding Mel Gibson in the title role, but it was Charlize Theron’s Furiosa who stole the show. So much so that rather than a Fury Road follow-up being the next Mad Max movie on the docket, we’re instead winding the clock back to explore Furiosa’s origins. The Queen’s Gambit actress Anya Taylor-Joy has been cast as the younger Furiosa, and it turns out that her upcoming movie Last Night in Soho played a big role in director George Miller selecting her for the prequel.

During a virtual conversation with Last Night in Soho director Edgar Wright for Empire, George Miller revealed that while he’d heard of Anya Taylor-Joy before seeing Wright’s latest feature, that marked the first time he witnessed her acting talents. As Miller recalled to Wright:

I’d known about Anya but I’d never seen her in a film until I saw her in Soho. And I remember thinking, ‘Gee, she’s interesting.’ I started to say to you, ‘I’m looking for someone to cast as Furiosa,’ and I barely got the sentence out before you said, ‘Don’t go any further, she’s great, she’s gonna be huge. She’s fantastic to work with.’ You were so emphatic about it.

Making her big screen debut in 2015’s The Witch, Anya Taylor-Joy has since starred in movies like Split, Glass, Emma and The New Mutants. Still, I suspect there are others like George Miller who haven’t seen any of her movies, or in TV shows like The Queen’s Gambit and Peaky Blinders, and will be seeing her for the first time in Last Night in Soho. Taylor-Joy stars in the next Edgar Wright movie as Sandy, the singer whose body Thomasin McKenzie’s Eloise is put into when she travels back to 1960s London. Last Night in Soho also stars Matt Smith, Terence Stamp and the late Diana Rigg.

Back to George Miller, hearing Edgar Wright effusive praise for Anya Taylor-Joy was enough to convince him that she should audition for the Furiosa prequel. When that time came, Miller had the actress perform a monologue from a 1970s cinematic classic, and he was impressed by what she delivered. The filmmaker explained:

I said to her, ‘I’d like you to do a very simple test, which is read something to camera.’ And it was the speech from Network. The ‘I’m mad as hell’ speech. Apart from the brilliance of the writing, it’s a piece that can be done to camera. It doesn’t need an acting partner. Anya did one version, which was really good. Then I gave her just a couple of simple notes about intention and she just absolutely nailed [it]. I think it was done on an iPhone. I sent it to the studio. I explained why I thought she was right for the role. I said I was really happy to talk about it but it was so persuasive that we didn’t need to talk. The studio said, ‘Tick.’

While Anya Taylor-Joy and George Miller still haven’t met in person yet because of the pandemic, they’ve spoken “many, many times now,” and it won’t be much longer before they finally come face to face. The Furiosa prequel is reportedly beginning preproduction in Australia towards the end of the year, and Taylor-Joy’s costars include Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Miller had considered bringing Charlize Theron back to reprise Furiosa, but he ultimately decided that the technology that would have been used to digitally de-age her, as seen in movies like The Irishman, still hadn’t overcome the uncanny valley effect.

Furiosa is set to hit theaters on June 23, 2023, so keep your eyes locked on CinemaBlend for updates on the prequel’s progress. In the meantime, keep track of movies that are arriving sooner with our 2021 release schedule and 2022 release schedule.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.