Anya Taylor-Joy is set to take on the title role for Furiosa, a spin-off from science-fiction movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Director George Miller recently talked how he discovered her, and what the audition was like.
To see what she’s made of, Miller assigned her a classic monologue. Needless to say, she nailed it, and the rest is history. “I said to her, ‘I’d like you to do a very simple test, which is read something to camera.’ And it was the speech from Network. The ‘I’m mad as hell’ speech,” Miller says, in conversation with Edgar Wright for Empire. “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].”
This scene from Network is a powerful one, with Peter Finch’s Howard Beale delivering an impassioned speech after he finds out his TV series might be cancelled due to a decline in ratings. The flick is directed by Sidney Lumet, and holds the world of television production and broadcasting in a dark light.
In the same excerpt, Miller explains that he first encountered Taylor-Joy watching Wright’s new thriller movie, Last Night in Soho. He was impressed, and Wright really encouraged the choice. “I started to say to [Wright], ‘I’m looking for someone to cast as Furiosa’,” Miller recalls. “And I barely got the sentence out before [Wright] said, ‘Don’t go any further, she’s great, she’s gonna be huge. She’s fantastic to work with.’ [Wright] was so emphatic about it.”
Furiosa was played by Charlize Theron in Fury Road, where Theron stood alongside Tom Hardy’s Max in taking down post-apocalyptic dictator Immortan Joe. For the spin-off, we’re winding the clock back, to see some of her life before becoming a one-armed hero. Marvel Cinematic Universe star Chris Hemsworth is also involved, in an unspecified role
Taylor-Joy has recently enjoyed a boom in popularity thanks to Netflix TV series The Queen’s Gambit, where she played chess prodigy Beth Harmon. You can see her in Last Night in Soho, out October 29. Furiosa is currently filming, for a 2023 release.