‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ brings home one of the most interesting female film characters of the year

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Charlize Theron plays Furiosa in "Mad Max: Fury Road." Photo provided

Charlize Theron plays Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Photo provided

One of the most interesting female film characters of the year comes to Blu-ray and DVD this week with the home release of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Also one of the best-reviewed movies of the year (it’s rated 98 percent fresh at RottenTomatoes.com), the continuation of Australian writer/director George Miller’s Mad Max cinematic series features Tom Hardy as Max and Oscar winner Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, arguably the real main character of the story.

“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’ – this very iconic character,” Theron says in the Blu-ray special features.

“He was so excited about creating an anti-heroic woman who was really driven by these very, very pure human flaws.”

In turn, Miller trusted Theron to play a character who was both strong and vulnerable.

“I thought that would be interesting to find someone who in another time would be regarded as a great beauty, but in this post-apocalyptic world, she’s become a hard-bitten warrior,” he says in the Blu-ray interviews.

“The paradox: Here is a very strong woman, statuesque – more than just physically, in her persona, in her spirit – and at the same time, you recognize a vulnerability. It’s not just a mask. The two things are there.”

In the story, Furiosa rebels against the tyrannical leader she serves and plots to steal the young wives he enslaves for breeding purposes. Playing Furiosa as a hard-edged warrior out for revenge was more interesting to Theron than playing her as a flawless heroine with a heart of gold.

“The idea that she’s kind of saving these women to  me just didn’t feel as interesting as they belong to a man who hurt her incredibly, and she’s just had enough. And she’s gonna take these women with her. She’s gonna take what matters to him the most,” Theron says.

For Hardy’s part, he says that Furiosa is as important to the film as his title character.

“In many ways, it’s her film and Max is on for the ride,” Hardy says on the Blu-ray. “Of course, they meet, and of course, there’s a relationship – an unspoken understanding. There’s a connection between those two. It was essential that they met and that they connect and they help one another and they move forward. … It can’t end well. Nothing’s good and everything hurts out there.”

There’s no room for attachment in the brutal world where they’re trying to survive, Theron says, which means she (and viewers) are spared any attempts to force a romance into one of the smartest action movies to come along in recent memory.

“These are two people that know only how to take care of themselves,” Theron says. “The material allowed for us to kind of go up against each other also create two characters who didn’t fall for each other or became each other’s best friend. This was truthful to the world he set them in that there was no room for anything like that to happen.”

Mad Max: Fury Road is out Tuesday on Blu-ray and DVD via Warner Home Video. It also is available via Amazon Instant Video.

Quick hitters

- Congratulations to Cate Blanchett, who is to receive the British Film Institute’s highest honor, the BFI Fellowship, at the BFI London Film Festival’s awards ceremony on Oct. 17 at London’s Banqueting House, according to Variety.com.

The fellowship is awarded to individuals in recognition of their “outstanding contribution to film or television.”

Greg Dyke, chairman of the BFI, said, “Cate Blanchett is a compelling and brave actress whose mesmerizing screen presence has captivated audiences since her earliest roles. We are absolutely delighted to honor her extraordinary talents with a BFI Fellowship at this year’s LFF awards.”

Truth, starring Blanchett and Robert Redford, will have its U.K. premiere on the same night she receives the award. The film tells the story of Mary Mapes, a CBS News journalist and the risks she took to expose a story about President George W. Bush.

The two-time Oscar winner also appears at the festival in Todd Haynes’ Carol, the American Express Gala screening on Oct. 14. Set in 1950s Manhattan, Blanchett plays the title character, a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who falls for a younger woman, played by Rooney Mara.

- Sci-fi fans rejoice: Oscar winner Anne Hathaway is attached to star in and produce The Shower, a female-centric sci-fi action comedy that made last year’s Blacklist, the annual listing of best not-yet made screenplays in Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Producing with Hathaway are her husband Adam Shulman as well as Andrew Lauren, the son of Ralph Lauren, and D.J. Gugenheim. Jac Schaeffer, who wrote The Shower, also will produce.

“Anne is the perfect actor to anchor a story that is ultimately about female friendship, with a lot of ass-kicking along the way,” said Schaeffer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project is described as being tonally in the vein of the Seth Rogen apocalypse comedy This is the End, the cult hit Attack the Block and the Kristen Wiig-Melissa McCarthy smash comedy Bridesmaids.

“Jac has written an awesome sci-fi comedy centered around funny, fully dimensional female characters,” said Hathaway. “I feel so lucky to be a part of the team that will bring her enormously talented and fresh voice to the big screen.”

Since it’s rare to see women take the lead role in sci-fi movies, I’ll be eagerly awaiting this one.

- Speaking of women in sci-fi, Melissa McCarthy isn’t letting the haters who have been loud and lavish in criticizing Paul Feig’s all-female Ghostbusters reboot get her down. According to the U.K.’S The Independent, McCarthy celebrated all of the women who contributed to the Ghostbusters reboot in a photo showcasing the female script writers, hairdressers, actors and assistants on the film, along with her and co-stars Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.

She shared the image Tuesday on Instagram to celebrate Ellen DeGeneres’ new collaboration with retailer The Gap, which focuses on promoting girl power. McCarthy included the message: “Three cheers to @theellenshow from all the remarkable women of #ghostbusters. When we stand together we are unstoppable! #girlpower.”

The Ghostbusters reboot is due in theaters July 15, 2016.

- In honor of Women’s Equality Day, which was Wednesday, Focus Features released a special trailer for the upcoming film Suffragette, focusing on the words of women’s suffrage pioneer Emmeline Pankhurst, who is played by three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep in the film.

“They ignited the movement. We must keep it burning,” the trailer urges.

The film also stars Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan, two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson. It is directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) and written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame).

The historical drama is due in theaters Oct. 23.

-BAM

 

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