George Miller Tried to Cast Tilda Swinton in ‘Furiosa,’ Calls Actress ‘One of the Wisest People I’ve Ever Known’

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George Miller went in a dramatically different direction for his “Mad Max: Fury Road” followup, opting to make “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” a two-hander starring Tilda Swinton as a woman confronted by a Djinn (Idris Elba). But now, with that film out of his system, the 77-year-old is preparing to return to the “Mad Max” universe with “Furiosa,” a prequel starring Anya Taylor-Joy as Charlize Theron’s “Fury Road” character.

But it appears that the process of filming “Three Thousand Years of Longing” made quite the impact on Miller and his approach to the next “Mad Max” movie. The director was so impressed with Swinton that he tried to find a way to include her in his next film, and regrets that he was unable to make it work.

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“She really is something. She’s an artist and one of the wisest people I’ve ever known,” Miller said to The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he unsuccessfully tried to find her a role in “Furiosa.” “It was the first thing I thought about.”

When there was no role in the “Furiosa” script that Swinton naturally fit into, Miller even considered writing her a male character, citing the actress’ performance in Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” remake as inspiration.

“In ‘Suspiria,’ she played three roles, one of which is an old man, so I thought, well, she could play one of the men,” Miller said. “But unfortunately, there was no role that she would fit. If you force a character into a film, it’s usually the first one to end up on the cutting room floor,” he said. “I would never do that to her, but I definitely wanted to make it happen.”

But while there is no second collaboration between Miller and Swinton on the horizon, fans of both artists can look forward to the upcoming release of “Three Thousand Years of Longing.” Miller knows that the unique film is a departure from his typical fare, but says believes that the stories it is rooted in are universal, which should help it resonate with audiences.

“You don’t have any choice but to try to be uniquely familiar,” he said in an interview with IndieWire’s Anne Thompson. “You will always be looking for something. But it has to be based on what’s already familiar. Otherwise, it’s so out there that it won’t make any connection with anybody.”

“Three Thousand Years of Longing” will be released in theaters on Friday, August 31.

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