'Furiosa' World Premiere Greeted with 7-Minute Standing Ovation

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the fifth installment in George Miller’s celebrated action franchise, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday night and was greeted with a seven-minute standing ovation in the Grand Lumiere Theatre as Miller and members of his cast, including stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, looked on.

Furiosa, a $168 million film that Warner Bros. will release in the U.S. on May 24, comes nine years to the month after the most recent prior installment of the franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, which starred Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, and 45 years after Miller’s original Mad Max film became the most profitable film of all time to that point (grossing $100 million on a $350,000 budget).

Anticipation for Furiosa, a prequel set more than a decade before Fury Road, has been through the roof given that Fury Road received rave reviews (it has a 97 percent favorable critics score on Rotten Tomatoes), made a fortune ($379 million worldwide) and became an unlikely Oscars behemoth (garnering 10 nominations and taking home six statuettes, all for work in below-the-line categories).

The Cannes moment is decades in the making for Miller, who wrote this script as part of the development process for Fury Road, so he could understand the Furiosa character better. He shares screenplay credit with Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris on the feature.

Cannes welcomed the cast and the director at the Palais with much love on Wednesday. Taylor-Joy and Hemsworth greeted fans and posed for selfies.

The director’s fellow Australian Baz Luhrmann was in the audience and hugged Miller after the premiere. As the applause continued, Taylor-Joy and Hemsworth flanked their director, with Hemsworth embracing Miller and giving him an affectionate little kiss on the head.

Miller told the crowd, “we worked very hard on this film, and it’s been very interesting to see what you make of it.”

Furiosa stars Taylor-Joy as Imperator Furiosa, the character first brought to life by Theron in Fury Road. Though Theron had interest in returning to the role, Miller opted to recast with a younger star, as the project takes plays more than 15 years before the original, and he did not want to utilize de-aging technology for the film.  

While Fury Road took place over a matter of days, Furiosa takes place over a period of around 18 years, tracing the titular character’s abduction from her childhood home in the idyllic Green Place of Many Mothers to her coming into the hands of a Biker Horde led by the Warlord of Dementus, played by Chris Hemsworth.

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