The latest Mad Max movie is an “incredibly feminist action film” according to Charlize Theron who’s talking down her chances of an Oscar nomination for her role as Imperator Furiosa.
Australian director George Miller introduces British actor Tom Hardy as the new Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road which screens in Cannes on Thursday night (Friday morning AEST).
But South African-born Theron is the real star of the fourth instalment of Miller’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi franchise.
Some critics have described the tough-as-nails War Rig driver Furiosa as a “feminist warrior” and Theron agrees with that label.
“She ended up being that but we set out not having an agenda,” the 2003 Oscar winner told AAP on Wednesday.
“George really was interested in discovering the truth of this woman and through that ended up making an incredibly feminist action film.
“But I love that that was not what we set out to do.”
Theron said Fury Road proves that when women are represented truthfully “they actually come across with greater tenacity and they empower and enrich the story so much more”.
Hardy thinks it’s wonderful that the lead of the movie is a female amputee.
“It’s a total empowerment of women,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
The Cannes film festival itself has come under fire in recent years for failing to give enough representation to women and this year’s top competition features just two female directors out of 19 selections.
Theron is disturbed by the lack of progress.
“We’ve talked about this for a long time and the fact we’re still talking about it and it hasn’t happened is very frustrating,” she said.
“It feels very caveman. Equal pay and equal rights is something that should have happened a long time ago.”
The 39-year-old said it was a societal problem rather than simply an issue for the film industry because when female-driven movies were made “people didn’t go and see them”.
“I don’t think it’s a question of we need to make more of them (but) we need people to actually go and see them – to have an interest,” she said.
It’s been suggested Theron could receive an Oscar nomination for her turn as Furiosa but the actor insists that’s “so unbelievably insane I can’t even tell you”.
“I can’t even imagine anything like that,” she said.
Theron’s been surprised by the rave reviews for Fury Road and her character who goes rogue during a desert mission for a maniacal warlord.
“This has been the most crazy journey, as far as all that stuff is concerned, of my life.
“Yesterday we were travelling and I was getting some updates on some of the reviews coming in and it’s just tremendous how people are emotionally tapping into this story and being affected by it.”