When Mad Max: Fury Road came out, viewers were entranced by the world-building and characters of the movie, none more interesting that Charlize Theron’s role of Imperator Furiosa. George Miller has plans to make a prequel film centering on Furiosa, and as the acclaimed filmmaker revealed to New York Times, he wanted Theron back in the role so badly he considered giving her a The Irishman makeover:
“For the longest time, I thought we could just use CG de-aging on Charlize, but I don’t think we’re nearly there yet. 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.”
The Irishman garnered plenty of publicity for being a Martin Scorsese movie that made heavy use of CGI. Not to show superheroes fighting aliens or wizards flying on broomsticks, but rather to make the lead cast of Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Robert De Niro appear younger and older at various points in the film.
The experiment was largely a success, but there were still some complaints, like the fact that the actors, even in their younger scenes, moved like old men. And as Miller states, even the de-aging process was not so perfect that it could escape the dreaded ‘uncanny valley look’. That’s when a computer-generated face lacks the requisite nuances of facial expressions to seem entirely real.
The same kind of de-aging process was also used in Marvel movies to present younger versions of Tony Stark and Nick Fury. And once again, while mostly successful, the attempts are not entirely without flaws. So it makes sense that Miller, who went to the desert to film all of the Mad Max stunts for real instead of relying on CGI, would not want to de-age his actors if the result is unrealistic.
Now that Charlize Theron is out, the question is, who will play Furiosa in her solo movie. A big part of the character’s appeal was the mixture of strength and vulnerability she displayed, masterfully portrayed by Theron. Any Taylor-Joy is rumored to be in the running to play Furiosa, but there have been no casting confirmations so far.
The Furiosa prequel is not the only movie Miller has planned. A fourth sequel to the parent Mad Max franchise is also being scripted, with Tom Hardy set to make his return as the taciturn but kind-hearted Max Rockatansky. Considering how beloved Mad Max: Fury Road is, often being declared the greatest action movie of the new millennium, it makes sense that the studio would want to expand the franchise as much as possible, possibly even setting up a cinematic universe.
For now, Miller is gearing up to shoot his next film, Three Thousand Years of Longing, with Edris Elba and Tilda Swinton in the lead roles, while Hardy’s most recent film Capone has debuted online, where he plays the role of notorious gangster Al Capone in the last stages of his life.