George Miller’s highly anticipated prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road has reportedly found its Furiosa: The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy.
The casting allegedly was finalised after Edgar Wright screened an early cut of Last Night in Soho, which is set to star Taylor-Joy, for Miller. Rumours of Taylor-Joy’s participation in the prequel stretch back all the way to October 2020, but Miller confirmed it while participating in a virtual chat with Wright for Empire.
“I’d known about Anya but I’d never seen her in a film until I saw her in Soho,” Miller says to Wright. “And I remember thinking, ‘Gee, she’s interesting.’ I started to say to you, ‘I’m looking for someone to cast as Furiosa,’ and I barely got the sentence out before you said, ‘Don’t go any further, she’s great, she’s gonna be huge. She’s fantastic to work with.’ You were so emphatic about it.”
The 25-year-old Argentinian-American-English actress is currently ascending to superstardom through her roles in The Queen’s Gambit, The Witch, Emma, and The New Mutants. Miller also revealed that, although the pair have “spoken many, many times now”, he has yet to meet his future Furiosa in person due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Production on the Furiosa prequel is set to begin before the end of the year.
Miller explained that, after Wright’s recommendation and the viewing of Last Night in Soho, he devised a screen test that required Taylor-Joy to take on a famous bit of dialogue. “I said to her, ‘I’d like you to do a very simple test, which is read something to camera.’ And it was the speech from Network,” Miller explains. “The ‘I’m mad as hell’ speech. Apart from the brilliance of the writing, it’s a piece that can be done to camera. It doesn’t need an acting partner.”
“Anya did one version, which was really good. Then I gave her just a couple of simple notes about intention and she just absolutely nailed it. I think it was done on an iPhone. I sent it to the studio. I explained why I thought she was right for the role. I said I was really happy to talk about it but it was so persuasive that we didn’t need to talk. The studio said, ‘Tick.’”
To see what she has to live up to, check out the fight scene from Charlize Theron’s version of the character that made the role so iconic in the first place.