Mad Max: Fury Road’s George Miller: “Initially, There Wasn’t a Feminist Agenda”

Charlize Theron: "People keep saying ‘strong women,’ but we are actually just women."

It’s really something amazing to witness a huge Hollywood action blockbuster starting serious, positive, feminist discussions in the news, but with the cast and creators involved, it seems like it was a story just waiting to be broken.

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First of all, if you haven’t read our review of Mad Max: Fury Road, go do that now! Spoiler-free besides two things which are marked and covered.

Most—if not all—of the talk about the film in the last week or so has been about its feminism. We found out the Vagina Monologues creator, Eve Ensler, consulted on set, and then some anti-feminists decided to boycott the film for reasons sparking even more articles online. Speaking to The Fresno Bee, star Charlize Theron (who always says what’s on her mind) had this to say about her and the other women in the film:

Theron particularly liked getting to play a strong character. And, she is not the only strong female in the movie. She often is surrounded by women who can shoot and drive with great skill. Theron calls working with so many strong women “a breath of fresh air.”

“I knew instantly from understanding the project that George had an innate understanding of what women represent to society and he wanted that to reflect in a post-apocalyptic world in the most truthful way possible. People keep saying ‘strong women’ but we are actually just women. We had a filmmaker that understood the truth of women is powerful enough and we don’t want to be put on pedestals or made to be unnaturally strong.

“What we are capable of doing is really interesting and informs a story like this.”

HeartsMeanwhile, director of the franchise George Miller has been saying some great things in press for the new film as well. Speaking with reporters at a recent Cannes press conference he said:

“Initially, there wasn’t a feminist agenda,” Miller insisted. Instead, the movie was simply designed to be an extended chase, and “the thing that people were chasing was to be not an object, but the five wives. I needed a warrior. But it couldn’t be a man taking five wives from another man. That’s an entirely different story. So everything grew out of that.”

ArtIronGiantaAgendaMargaret Sixel, Miller’s wife, was also the editor on Fury Road, and he told reporters, “She had never cut an action movie, and she said, ‘Why on earth would you want me to cut the movie,’ and I said, ‘Because if it were the usual kind of guys, it would look like every other action movie you see,’ and she said, ‘My job here is to stop you from embarrassing yourself.'”

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Miller also credited his wife and other women in his life with his mindset: “I’ve gone from being very male dominant to being surrounded by magnificent women. I can’t help but be a feminist.”

Sticking with that theme, this happened last night:

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” (TheNerdyBird.com). She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."