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Charlize Theron: Not returning as Furiosa for Mad Max prequel ‘a little heartbreaking’

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Jul 6, 2020, 4:49 PM EDT

Back in May, Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller revealed that the upcoming prequel to his 2015 desert epic won’t find Charlize Theron returning to the role as a younger Furiosa. Using CGI to de-age an actor for a film that tells a character’s early backstory just isn’t the way he wants to go, he told The New York Times.

Instead, Miller said he plans to seek a young new actor to step into the role Theron made famous in Fury Road’s Oscar-winning tear through the dry, devastated post-apocalypse. That means Theron herself won’t be back for the prequel, and thanks to a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, now we know she’s kind of heartbroken over it.

Getting emotionally invested in Miller’s visionary take on the Mad Max universe was easy, said Theron, and that makes watching the prequel move forward without her “a tough one to swallow,” she said.

“Yeah, it’s a little heartbreaking, for sure. I really love that character, and I’m so grateful that I had a small part in creating her. She will forever be someone I think of and reflect on fondly,” Theron explained. “Obviously, I would love to see that story continue, and if he feels like he has to go about it this way, then I trust him in that manner. We get so hung up on the smaller details that we forget the thing that we emotionally tap into has nothing to do with that minute thing that we’re focusing on.”

Theron’s versatility has seen her play everyone from a real-life killer in 2003’s Monster (which earned her a Best Actress Oscar as serial murderer Aileen Wuornos) to 2005’s futuristic sci-fi saga Aeon Flux (which bombed at the box office and failed to impress critics). But genre movies, she says, presents a different kind scenario for female actors in particular.

“A lot of women don’t get a second chance," she said of women taking on genres roles, "but when men make these movies and fail miserably, they get chance after chance after chance to go and explore that again. That doesn’t necessarily happen for women. Fury Road came a good decade after Aeon Flux, and there’s always been that voice in the back of my head that still somewhat responds to that. I’m still influenced by that, and it’s one thing that drives me. It’s unfortunate that we feel like the opportunity will be taken away from us in a heartbeat if we don’t succeed, but that is the truth. It’s not a very forgiving genre when it comes to women.”

At least we don’t have to wait long to catch Theron on another sci-fi desert romp. She’s heading to Netflix this week as Andy, one of the enigmatic immortal mercenaries fighting to protect their age-old secret in The Old Guard, based on Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’s Image comics series. The Old Guard arrives at Netflix on July 10.