Entertainment Movies Mad Max: Chris Hemsworth joins film as George Miller casts his new Furiosa
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Mad Max: Chris Hemsworth joins film as George Miller casts his new Furiosa

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Australia’s hunkiest export Chris Hemsworth is lining up for the next edition of Australia’s legendary dystopian series: Mad Max.

There are strong bets the prequel, which will focus on feminist heroine Imperator Furiosa, will be filmed here on the watch of Aussie director George Miller.

Details of the new film remain scant, but Miller has confirmed the stand alone story will explore the dark origins and genesis of the one-armed warrior.

It’s also set to star Watchmen’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – plus, of course, Hemsworth.

Given the film will focus on a much younger Furiosa, fans of the franchise may be disappointed to learn Charlize Theron won’t be shaving her head anytime soon to reprise the role.

After exploring the possibility of digital de-ageing technology, Miller has opted instead to cast Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, Emma) in the titular role.

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“For the longest time, I thought we could just use CG de-ageing on Charlize, but I don’t think we’re nearly there yet,” Miller told The New York Times in May.

“Despite the valiant attempts on The Irishman, I think there’s still an uncanny valley.

“Everyone is on the verge of solving it, particular Japanese video-game designers, but there’s still a pretty wide valley, I believe.”

Comic heroine …

A prequel comic, set before the events of Fury Road, could give insight into the storyline of the new film.

The comic details a young Furiosa who is kidnapped, along with her mother, and forced to become one of Immortan Joe’s wives.

When she is unable to bear a child for her captor, she is given to his Imperator and trained to become the only female warrior, losing her arm in a battle in the process.

While it is unknown whether Miller has taken any inspiration from the comics, he did reveal the backstory for Furiosa had been written during the 15-year production for Mad Max: Fury Road as a tool to help the cast and crew learn more about wasteland and how the characters came to be there.

“It was purely a way of helping Charlize and explaining it to ourselves,” Miller said.

Theron, like her fans, is disappointed she won’t be able to reprise her Oscar-nominated role.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Theron told The Hollywood Reporter in July.

“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. I really love that character, 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. Obviously, I would love to see that story continue, and if he feels like he has to go about it this way, then I trust him in that manner.

“We get so hung up on the smaller details that we forget the thing that we emotionally tap into has nothing to do with that minute thing that we’re focusing on.

Theron was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Furiosa. Photo: IMDB / Warner Bros.

Is Fury Road Australia’s road to success?

The announcement of a new Mad Max instalment is good news for the Australian film industry.

The original trilogy series starring Mel Gibson were filmed between Melbourne, New South Wales and South Australia, creating hundreds of local jobs in the 1970s and ’80s.

Though principle photography for Fury Road took place in Namibia, part of the film was also shot in Sydney’s western suburbs.

Also injecting some much-needed love into our local industry is Baz Luhrmann, whose Elvis biopic commenced filming in Queensland, bringing Tom Hanks, Austin Butler and Australian actress Olivia DeJonge to the Sunshine State.

We’ve got Hemsworth to thank for some of it, too – he’s inked a deal with Netflix that could see four of his upcoming films shot in Australia.

The next Thor flick is due to film in Queensland early next year.

And while details on the filming location for new Furiosa flick haven’t yet been publicised, industry insiders are hoping it follows suit, after new industry reforms threaten to halve local production.

The reforms, announced in late September by Arts Minister Paul Fletcher could strike a blow to the domestic film industry.

Screen Producers Australia said the reforms could “reduce the amount of content being produced by at least 50 per cent, and remove thousands of jobs from the sector as well as opportunities for audiences across the world to engage with Australian stories”.