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Anya Taylor-Joy’s ‘Furiosa’ Prep: ‘Become Strong Enough’ Mentally to Carry the Entire Movie

It takes more than physical strength to play Furiosa.

Anya Taylor Joy and Charlize Theron

Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlize Theron

AP/Warner Bros.

Anya Taylor-Joy is in prep on George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel “Furiosa” ahead of filming next year, and she’s already loving getting the chance to work with the Oscar-nominated director. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly to promote Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho,” Taylor-Joy called Miller “incredibly generous and so passionate.” Taylor-Joy is taking over the role of Furiosa from Charlize Theron, who earned rave reviews for her performance in “Fury Road.”

“I love working with him already. He’s just the best,” Taylor-Joy said of Miller. “I think my preparation is just about becoming strong enough to be able to carry this film. That’s what it is. It’s emotional strength, it’s physical strength, it’s mental strength. I cannot wait. I’m so excited. It wouldn’t be ‘Mad Max,’ if there were not vehicles of some sort.”

It was actually “Last Night in Soho” that put Taylor-Joy on Miller’s radar. “I’d known about Anya but I’d never seen her in a film until I saw her in ‘Soho,’” Miller recently told Edgar Wright during an interview for Empire magazine,. “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.”

Miller then contacted Taylor-Joy to audition for the “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel virtually because of the pandemic. The actress was assigned the famous “I’m mad as hell” speech from Sidney Lumet’s “Network.”

“I said to her, ‘I’d like you to do a very simple test, which is read something to camera,’” Miller said. “And it was the speech from ‘Network.’ 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.’”

Taylor-Joy has already gone on record saying it will be impossible to match the high of Theron’s performance in “Fury Road,” adding, “I can’t even think about trying to step into her shoes. It has to be something different because it just can’t be done.” Production on “Furiosa” is set to begin in 2022.

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