One thing I can state with absolute clarity is that Charlize Theron is going to walk away from “Mad Max: Fury Road” with brand-new fans, newly cemented as an action icon thanks to her work as Imperator Furiosa.
When I sat down to talk with her, I was still rabid from my first screening of the film, and I think it's pretty clear at this point that I don't have much of a poker face when I enjoyed a movie. The most startling thing about “Fury Road” is that it is unrepentantly feminist, but without treating that idea like an agenda. No one stops to explain to you exactly what the themes of the film are, but they don't have to. The films makes its points through action, defining these characters on the run.
Any time there's a film as unimaginably difficult to make as “Mad Max: Fury Road,” there will be stories about the difficulties. In the case of this movie, there were months and months of rumors about discord between the cast. If I cared about gossip, I would have asked Theron about that, but all that really matters about any of that is the final film, and the final film is so remarkable that I hope everyone feels it was worth it.
I like Theron a lot, but she has not always had the best luck with material. Maybe the most likable performance she's ever given was in the otherwise-dreadful “A Million Ways To Die In The West” last year, where she seemed to loosen up and relax in a way we'd never seen from her onscreen before. And now, with “Fury Road,” it finally feels like she's found the action role she's been looking for, one that allows her to play a powerful, deadly individual who is also deeply feminine and uncompromised.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is in theaters May 15.