Anya Taylor-Joy on Those ‘Furiosa’ Action Scenes: ‘It Doesn’t Make Any Sense How Safe This Film Was’

Cannes 2024: “Our one priority was not to injure anybody,” producer Doug Mitchell says of the high-octane George Miller film

Furiosa press conference
Chris Hemsworth, George Miller and Anya Taylor-Joy at the Cannes "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" press conference (Getty Images)

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to a six-minute standing ovation on Wednesday night, contains some of the biggest, longest, wildest and seemingly most dangerous action sequences ever filmed, including one 15-minute scene that took a full 78 full-tilt days to film. But Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays the title character in George Miller’s prequel to “Mad Max: Fury Road” and spent much of that scene underneath a speeding monster truck, insisted at a Cannes press conference on Thursday that it was no big deal.

“It doesn’t make any sense how safe this film was,” she said at the press conference. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

The focus of the entire production, producer Doug Mitchell said, was safety. “[The film] had a tremendous amount of infrastructure underneath,” he said. “You’re subjected to bad weather, COVID and exhaustion. Our one priority, led by George, is not to injure anybody. That’s our first responsibility. The second is to make the film that we enjoyed.”

Miller has worked on the “Mad Max” franchise for going on 45 years, beginning with the Mel Gibson-led 1979 film of the same name. Since then, the unique director has gone on to work on everything from “Twilight Zone: The Movie” to “Lorenzo’s Oil” starring Susan Sarandon and the animated feature “Happy Feet.” He gained even more acclaim with 2016’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a production plagued with infighting from stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy that grossed over $380 million at the box office.

Many people on the production came out of retirement to work with Miller on “Furiosa,” Taylor-Joy said at the press conference. In response, Miller quipped, “I came out of retirement!”, producing a lot of laughter from inside the third-floor room in Cannes’ Palais.

Miller also said he found it important to consistently work on new projects. “The one thing you can say about cinema is that it’s always evolving and changing, particularly the technology,” he said. “I started making films in the analog era where it was quite different.”

Later, the Oscar-winning director stated, “If you’re just repeating what you’ve done, there’s no appetite to do it. I never thought I’d do two ‘Mad Max’ movies, now I’m on my fifth! Each story has to be different.”

Besides Miller, Mitchell and Taylor-Joy, actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke also appeared at the press conference. Hemsworth, noteworthy for his work in big budget films as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is new to the festivalgoing world. “This is my first time to [Cannes], and to be here with George and this cast and production … the ‘Mad Max’ franchise holds a very special place in my heart being Australian,” he said.

Mitchell added that the Australian government gave massive rebates in order for the film to be made in that country. (“Fury Road” had originally been planned to shoot in Australia as well, but an unexpectedly heavy rainy season forced the production to relocate to the desert in Namibia.)

The producer also put “Mad Max” in the context of other celebrated movie franchises. “Just in the context of the 45 years George has been making Mad Max, Americans have their Batmans and Supermans, England has its Harry Potter,” he said. “Australia has Mad Max.”

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” debuts in theaters in Australia on May 23 and the United States on May 24.

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