One of the biggest surprises of the summer movie season was the revelation that the wildly anticipated Mad Max reboot, which featured Tom Hardy extremely prominently as the new post-apocalyptic hero in the bonkers trailers, actually belonged to another character — a woman. At Cannes, where the film premiered, Hardy dismissed the public’s expectation that Mad Max “was supposed to be a man’s movie”: “No,” he scoffed. “Not for one minute. It’s kind of obvious.”
Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa was a gritty and ruthless action star, the heir to Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton’s cinematic alpha females, and her quest for revenge against the draconian Immortan Joe drove the narrative of Mad Max: Fury Road. Her prominence in the film is hardly subversive, but it was a slight twist that director George Miller certainly enjoyed. “When I met with George, I believed him when he said to me, ‘I want to create a female character that can stand next to Max,’” says Theron, in one of the film’s Blu-ray extras. “He was so excited about creating an anti-heroic woman, who was really driven by these very, very pure human flaws.”
Fury Road, which is already available as a digital download and arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on Sept. 1, was the rare summer blockbuster to charm the critics, grossing more than $152 million and generating ripples of Oscar buzz in the process. In a year not lacking for standout female performances, Theron’s Furiosa might not make the final shortlist like Weaver did for Aliens in 1987. But her work deserves a close look, one that she and collaborators discuss extensively in these two special featurettes.