Is Charlize Theron’s age the reason why she was recast in ‘Mad Max’?
The Mad Max movies have done a great job of portraying a post-apocalyptic world with simple storytelling, outlandish design, gallows humour and mind-numbing action. In Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron brought to life the inimitable character of Imperator Furiosa.
When the movie hit theaters in 2015, Imperator Furiosa was hailed as the warrior-queen of our times. She was likened to Lara Croft & Wonder Woman. One thing is obviously settled: when women action heroes are listed, Imperator Furiosa will doubtlessly make it to the list.
A movie that revolves around the theme of redemption & revolution, the Mad Max franchise has provoked another quake. Let’s see what this one’s about.
What’s Furiosa without Theron?
As of 2020, director George Miller is revisiting the Mad Max universe, but he’s not taking Theron along for the ride. Miller has plans to create another movie in the series – this time a prequel of Mad Max – but Theron will not be reprising her role as Furiosa. Perhaps her portrayal wasn’t as inimitable after all.
Miller is set to cast another actor to play a younger version of Furiosa. Rumor has it that Jodie Comer & Anya Taylor-Joy are on the radar for the role. Meanwhile, Theron has expressed her heartbreak and pain over this announcement.
Theron has articulated her disappointment in as many words to The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s a tough one to swallow. Listen, I fully respect George, if not more so in the aftermath of making Fury Road with him. He’s a master and I wish him nothing but the best. Yeah, it’s a little heartbreaking, for sure.”
Theron added her fondness of the character, “I really love that character [Furiosa] and I’m so grateful that I had a small part in creating her. She will forever be someone I think of and reflect on fondly.”
This elicits the question – an elephant in the room waiting to be addressed – was Theron overlooked because of her age? At 44 years, Theron can pull off a stunt seamlessly. So her abilities are not to be questioned. But the larger trend in Hollywood could be to blame.
Women and Hollywood reported that in 2019, out of the top 100 grossing movies, only 3 films featured female leads/co-leads who were 45 years of age or older at the time of theatrical release. This could explain why Theron is not cast to play the character in a movie that’s supposed to go back in time. The decision could’ve come from more than just her age.
A history of rocky roads
This isn’t the only friction which has come to light. Theron has previously also alluded to tensions during the filming of Mad Max: Fury Road. In a New York Times oral history project, she shared her experience of what it was like on the sets. In addition to skirmishes with co-star Tom Hardy, there were added tensions with regard to her lack of trust in director George Miller.
She owned part of the responsibility for the strains on the set, claiming that while the lack of script created cluelessness & confusion, she should have given Miller the benefit of the doubt, “Looking back at it, I should have trusted him a little bit more and I think it would have made the shoot easier. It’s not easy for him to fully lay out what you want to know.”
Theron’s inclined to think of this experience as evolution – a learning process – this could be a lesson but we won’t write off her age as one of the factors.