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Pieces of mosaic come together gradually: George Miller on 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'

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New Delhi, May 16 (PTI) It is hard to predict how a film will turn out while stepping into the story but one hopes that it means something to the audience, says filmmaker George Miller ahead of the global release of "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga".

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Starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, the film continues Miller's dystopian "Mad Max" franchise and tells the origin story of Furiosa, a character he introduced through Charlize Theron in his 2015 blockbuster "Mad Max: Fury Road".

"You can't anticipate the end result. You can theorise about what you want it to be, but as you go through the process, gradually, the pieces of the mosaic come together and you end up with the film that you hope means something to an audience," Miller told PTI in an interview.

Taylor-Joy has stepped in for Theron in the new movie, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday and received a standing ovation of over seven minutes. The film will release globally on May 23.

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Considered one of the most original and genre-bending directors today, the 79-year-old Australia-born filmmaker said with "Fury Road", he wanted to make a story that was a continuous chase and also picks up all the backstories of the Mel Gibson-starrer past three movies -- "Mad Max" in 1979, "Mad Max 2" in 1981 and 1985's "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome".

Miller, also known for "Babe", animated film "Happy Feet" and "Three Thousand Years of Longing", said he decided to reboot the franchise in 2015 because "the tools of filmmaking are quite different in the digital age".

"I thought you could do things that you could never do in the past," he said, adding that he wanted to make something where conflict was human because "most stories are allegorical and somehow interact with the zeitgeist".

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"In this case, it was five wives, who basically, as has often happened in history, are the breeding stock of a tyrannical guy, Immortan Joe, (who's) sitting on top of the dominance hierarchy with all the wealth of the wasteland. The most important currency is water and looking for heirs. It's a story told over and over again in all cultures throughout history," he said.

The filmmaker said Furiosa was born out of an idea of a female saviour who would rescue these five wives from Immortan Joe.

"If it was a male warrior taking them away, that's a completely different story than if it's a female. So that's what gave rise to Furiosa. Then, we had to go to her backstory. Where is she taking them? She's taking them to the place that was once her home, a place called Green Place of Many Mothers..." The new film will show Furiosa's childhood and how she is snatched from her home at a young age and battles to go back.

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Miller said both "Fury Road" and "Furiosa" play out differently because his action is always rooted in the storytelling.

"The idea is not a game where you're trying to top yourself. You always go back to the unfolding of the story, the dynamics of the story, and that will tell you the best way to render each of one of the sequences or events. So it's not saying, 'Oh, let's do another action movie and let's top the action that we're doing'. It's always story driven." While "Fury Road" had long set pieces with action playing out in real time, "Furiosa" has sequences that take place over 18 years from when she's a 10 year old taken away from home until she becomes Furiosa, a road warrior.

"It's got a different rhythm. If it was music, a symphony, it would have different structures as this one does... It's always the story that defines what you're going to do." Stories of conflict between Theron and her "Fury Road" co-star Tom Hardy are part of movie lore now with both the actors later acknowledging the tension and even Miller has spoken about it in interviews.

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In the case of "Furiosa", Miller has nothing but praise for Taylor-Joy and Hemsworth and he believes despite his aquiline nose the "Thor" star's Dementus is "still very handsome".

The director admitted that it was "weird" to see his actors in reality after he had seen them play their characters.

"This is a timeless story in many ways. It's a story that, even though it's set in the future, goes back to past behaviours... But it's also about our time, so that the characters can't be only contemporary." Taylor-Joy, he said, has got her own mystique and a resolute quality.

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"She is capable of being fierce whenever it's needed." Hemsworth, who plays a charismatic leader of a mad horde of bikers, has some of that (madness) in himself, according to Miller.

"As a human being, he's very multilayered and wise for a relatively young man and he brings that not only to his life, but also his work. His understanding of the story was very intimate and he understood all the layers underneath, as did Anya.

"They were interesting collaborators and came up with wonderful ideas because both of them, in this story, had to be worthy of each other as adversaries. And all of that, I'm happy to say, was revealed in the process of making the film," Miller said.

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and be released in India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. PTI BK RDS BK BK

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