"I'm in love with 'Mad Max: Fury Road,'" Eve Ensler told press and academy members at an afternoon tea celebrating the critically acclaimed Oscar-contender on Monday, January 4. She added that the post-apocalyptic actioner is "genius, riveting, brilliant, feminist, radical in every way."
Ensler, the playwright and feminist activist best known for "The Vagina Monologues," seems like an unlikely participant in director George Miller's dystopian action thriller, but Miller sought her out after hearing her on the radio in Australia. "Eve happened to be down in Australia talking at a human rights convention," he remembered. "I thought, everything she's saying in this extended interview is exactly what we're thinking about, and wouldn't it be great if she were able to somehow come and work with our cast … and it made a huge difference … Then you went off to Congo and did all these extraordinary things in real life that we try to depict in the movie."
At the heart of its extensive chases and elaborate action set pieces, "Fury Road" tells the story of Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who betrays her tyrannical leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) by rescuing his enslaved wives from captivity. The film's focus on its female heroes is part of what appealed to Ensler: "Women get to be full-fledged, able-bodied, hot-ass, ass-kicking women, which we are, and we're now being allowed to be that in movies," she said. "Imagine how that's going to change younger girls and their self-perception, as well as younger boys who will start seeing that … we're in this together."
Nicholas Hoult plays Nux, a devoted follower of Immortan Joe who becomes disillusioned and switches sides. It was "that strange thing of being raised to believe something that you're finding out isn't true. That was the key thing," Hoult explained of his character's crisis of faith. "He's a bit of a puppy, and he's a hundred-percent committed to whatever he's doing."
Miller had been developing the idea of "Fury Road" since Hoult was a child, going back to "1999 or 1998, and it just kept being interrupted, but it was a film you couldn't kill with a stick." Now that the film is complete Miller is glad it's resonating the way he hoped it would. "You start reading reviews, good or bad, and they're echoing conversations we had way back before we started," he said. "And that's when you really feel that the thing is comprehensible, and second of all that it has meaning, because you're looking for meaning. That's why we tell each other stories. We're looking for signal in the noise."
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"Mad Max" Photo Credit: Moviestore/REX