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Anya Taylor-Joy says she and Charlize Theron are ‘due a very long dinner’ to swap ‘Furiosa’ ‘war stories’

<i>Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Pictures via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Chris Hemsworth in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”
Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Pictures via CNN Newsource
Chris Hemsworth in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”

By Elizabeth Wagmeister, CNN

(CNN) — Nearly a decade after Charlize Theron starred in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the franchise continues with the latest installment from director George Miller, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.”

The new film, which hits theaters Friday, is a prequel to the 2015 “Fury Road” and centers on the character Furiosa, first played by Theron. Now, Anya Taylor-Joy steps into the role to portray the central heroine in an origin story set in Furiosa’s childhood and teenage years.

Taylor-Joy raved about Theron in a recent interview with CNN, and said she has been in touch with the Oscar-winning actress, now that they both share a role in Miller’s franchise.

“We have emailed a bunch. We met at the Oscars, and she’s just as lovely and gracious and cool as you could imagine,” Taylor-Joy says of Theron. “We are due a very long dinner, just to swap war stories. But I feel so lucky to share a character with her. She’s one of my favorite actors and I just think she’s fabulous.”

Taylor-Joy said that before she even read the script for “Furiosa,” she felt connected to the character because she had watched Theron in the 2015 film.

“I was lucky enough to fall in love with Furiosa through Charlize’s interpretation in ‘Fury Road.’ I thought that the character was just somebody who had really stuck with me,” Taylor-Joy says.

Miller — the mastermind director who created the “Mad Max” action franchise back in 1979 when Mel Gibson debuted as the title character — said he considered having the “magnificent” Theron reprise in the new film, but ultimately decided to find a new star to more accurately portray the timeline of Furiosa’s story-arc. (In the new film, Furiosa is seen from ages 10 to 26.)

Miller had initially considered using de-aging technology to bring Theron back to play Furiosa, but ultimately decided against it because he believes the technology can be distracting from an artist’s performance.

The director said even in some of the best filmmaker’s hands — like Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee — he does not believe de-aging technology is as effective as an original performance.

“Way back, my intention was, if we were to do the other film, was to do it with Charlize. But almost 10 years has gone by and then I thought, ‘Oh, we’ll try the de-aging,’” Miller told CNN. “And then I saw de-aging in the hands of really great filmmakers like Martin Scorsese in the ‘Irishman’ and Ang Lee in ‘Gemini Man.’ And what you tend to do is only see the technology — you’re not really watching performance. So there’s a risk of distracting.”

Miller continued, “We watch on the big screen, particularly human faces and we read all the micro things almost subliminally, all the micro movements and gestures and we feel the truth of it in ways that we can’t even analyze — and even at this point, even computers really can’t do it. So we very quickly, I steered away from that.”

That’s how Miller found Anya Taylor-Joy, known for her award-winning performance in “The Queen’s Gambit.”

“I didn’t know who could play it,” Miller said, noting the “big shoes to fill,” taking on the role played by Theron.

He said after watching another one of Taylor-Joy’s films, he thought, “Holy cow – there’s someone who could take this on. He added, “She’s got that sort of mystique – a timeless quality, a wonderful intensity, almost regal.”

Starring opposite Taylor-Joy is Chris Hemsworth. The Marvel star, known for playing Thor, takes on a villainous role.

“This was a huge departure from anything I had done before,” Hemsworth told CNN.

In the movie, Hemsworth is nearly unrecognizable, wearing a prosthetic nose, fake teeth and long hair.

Miller said that he conceived the character years ago — actually before 2015’s “Fury Road.” He said he crafted Furiosa’s entire origin story prior to the 2015 film, even though the prequel wouldn’t come out until years late.

“We had some concept art and I wanted him to have this sort of almost Roman emperor nose,” Miller said of the villainous character, Dementus, who is played by Hemsworth. “That was in the early concept art [and] looked nothing like Chris, at the time.”

Hemsworth said his transformation helped him embrace the character.

“The prosthetics, the hair, the makeup provides so much of that, as do the sets and everything involved. It’s such a far greater immersive experience as an actor,” Hemsworth said. “It’s much easier to lose yourself in the moment and in the headspace of the individual you’re playing.”

“Furiosa” is the fifth film in Miller’s “Mad Max” franchise. The director said he has already conceived other stories centered around other characters — though he won’t reveal exact plans for any future movies.

“Just as we wrote the story for Furiosa, we’ve written a story for Max in the year before we meet him in ‘Fury Road,’” Miller teased. “So, I know what happens to him, and I’ve certainly speculated about what happens after ‘Fury Road.’”

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