LONDON – After a lengthy gap between her brief role in 2009’s “The Road” and last winter’s well-regarded turn in “Young Adult,” Charlize Theron has moved into her summer of tentpole presumptive blockbusters, with “Snow White and the Huntsman” and the upcoming “Prometheus.”
Speaking with reporters in anticipation of the June 8 release for “Prometheus,” Theron confirms that her streak of potential franchise pics will continue, as she moves on to George Miller’s long-awaited “Mad Max” sequel/reboot/neologism-of-choice.
Calling the currently-hypothetically-titled “Mad Max: Fury Road” “long-awaited” might even be an understatement, given the number of delays that have beset the project, as well as the number of actors who have gravitated in and out of its orbit.
“I leave in like two and a half weeks and we start shooting I think around mid-July in Namibia,” Theron tells a roundtable of scribes at Claridge’s in London. “I’m f***ing dying, too, it’s been three years. It’s time to skin this cat already. So yeah, I’m very excited about it.”
One thing that appears not to be holding this new “Mad Max” back is a script, as Miller has been working on this story through all of those years and Theron says that what’s set for production is the same script she originally signed on for.
“Yes, exactly the same script, Theron says. “It was more logistics. It was the fact that he had to finish ‘Happy Feet.’ Then there was terrible floods in Australia, and the desert just never recovered from it. That sounds horrible. It did recover in a beautiful way, but not in a way that we needed it to, so that was a huge problem for us.”
Just as “Prometheus” is Ridley Scott’s return to the universe of “Alien” — the “Prequel or Not-a-Prequel” linguistic debate can rage elsewhere — “Mad Max” will also feature a director coming back to one of his formative creative ventures.
She notes, “I think that just like this, that’s an interesting world. I feel that I have a real interest in this world, and I think people will have an interest in this world because ‘Alien’ kinda set that up for us. I feel like the original ‘Mad Max’ created such a vivid world, that to go back and re-imagine it and kind of replay in that sandbox sounds like fun to me. George really created a female character that I’ve never read anything like this. I mean, I’m scared s***less, yeah.”
So what what it that attracted her to this character?
“It’s a really challenging piece of material,” she explains. “I think for me originally when they were like, “Oh, ‘Mad Max.” I was like, ‘Uh, I’m not going to play the f***ing girl for ‘Mad Max.” Then I read it and I was like, ‘Oh, Mad Max. I feel sorry for you.’ That rarely happens. It’s just really, it’s two great characters. It’s not the original ‘Mad Max.’ It’s the revamped ‘Mad Max.’ It’s Tom Hardy, who’s incredible. So, the whole thing is just exciting, very, very exciting.”
In these cases, there’s the inevitable question of whether the new entry will follow in the R-rated footsteps established by the franchise or go with a toned down PG-13 for box office considerations.
“There’s some bad-ass violence in it,” Theron says, hinting that if the script is shot as-is, an “R” is likely. [Note: Actors are not a part of the MPAA Ratings Board and they’re only sometimes reliable barometers of what their movies will end up being rated.]
While Theron took a relatively long acting hiatus, she’s been ramping up a number of possible projects through her production banner. Several of those projects, including HBO scripts with Ridley Scott and David Fincher attached, are for TV.
“I think some of the most creative work is coming out of television,” she says. “I felt it’s very immediate and I like that. It’s really fast. It’s got a pace to it, and that’s why I think everybody in my field wants to just do good material. We want to push the envelope. Whatever field you can do that, that’s where you want to do it, and I think that’s why people like David Fincher and Ridley Scott are interested in it, too, because when you sit down on a meeting in HBO and they’re like, ‘More, more.’ You’re just like, ‘Oh yeah, I love this.’ Sometimes it’s a little harder in film. I think also it’s a great audience, take advantage of it. It’s a great audience.”
Asked for her TV favorites, Theron excitedly says that she’s “foaming at the mouth with ‘Game of Thrones.'”
That leads to the inevitable question: If HBO and “Game of Thrones” came calling with a role for Season 3 or Season 4, would Theron consider it?
“I’d be totally open to it. I’m open to anything, dude,” Theron tells the reporter. “I’m open to anything.”
Hopefully HBO and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are paying attention.
“Prometheus” opens on June 8 at theaters everywhere (unless you’re in European territories where it’s opening sooner than that).