George Miller Almost Cast Tilda Swinton in “Furiosa”

Miller considered casting Swinton as an old man in his prequel Mad Max: Fury Road, but couldn’t find a way to work it into the script.

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

But it seems the process of filming Three Thousand Years of Longing had a major impact on Miller and his approach to the next Mad Max movie. The director was so impressed with Swinton that he tried to include her in his next film and regrets that he didn’t succeed.

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

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

“On ‘Suspiria,’ she played three roles, one of which is an old man, so I thought, well, she could play one of the guys,” Miller said. “But unfortunately there was no role that she would fit into. When you force a character into a movie, they’re usually the first to land on the cutting room floor,” he said. “I would never do that to her, but I really wanted to do it.”

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

“You have no 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 must build on what is already known. Otherwise it’s so out there that it doesn’t connect to anyone.”

Three Thousand Years of Longing hits theaters on Friday, August 31st.

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Lindsay Lowe

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