Charlize Theron holds a unique position in Hollywood for being both one of the most critically-acclaimed and talented actresses of her generation, while simultaneously boasting a reputation as one of the industry’s premiere action stars, regardless of gender.
There aren’t a lot of people that have won an Academy Award for Best Actress that can also convincingly headline the likes of Atomic Blonde and Netflix’s upcoming The Old Guard, but the best action-orientated role of her career by far was as Imperator Furiosa in the modern classic Mad Max: Fury Road.
The fourth installment of the post-apocalyptic franchise spent decades mired in development hell, before suffering a series of misfortunes when cameras finally ended up rolling, and it remains a minor miracle that the finished product turned out as well as it did. Theron and co-star Tom Hardy may have frequently been at each other’s throats, but it didn’t harm either of their performances in the slightest.
Director George Miller is keen to move forward with a fourth movie that focuses on Furiosa, but the project’s status as a prequel means that a younger star than the 44 year-old Theron is required, and there have already been plenty of names touted as her replacement. In a recent interview, though, Theron admitted that not getting the chance to reprise the role has been difficult to process.
“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 that 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.”
There have also been rumors of a direct follow-up to Fury Road, but based on how much trouble Miller and his team faced in getting the fourth installment across the finishing line, it seems perhaps a little too optimistic that he’ll be able to make both a prequel and a sequel one after the other. Regardless of who ends up playing the next iteration of Furiosa though, they’ll have a daunting task ahead of them in trying to match the intensity of Theron’s performance in the last Mad Max outing.