Feminist Powerhouse Eve Ensler Played A Part In Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road Still / Rex USA
Thanks to advances in cinematic technology and an absence of Mel Gibson,  the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road movie might be even darker than the dystopian original. In this edition, Max (Tom Hardy) joins up with Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to cross a desert in the face of extreme danger, along with precious cargo: five former female captives who are vital to the continued existence of the human race.

Model-turned-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley plays one of these women. Costumed in what looks like a filthy white sheet throughout the film, her character — named Splendid — is pregnant, as a consequence of being raped by her captor. Along with the others, her life has been harrowing.

But, instead of asking the actresses to fabricate a backstory on their own, director George Miller decided to bring in someone with deep expertise in the area of female trauma — which is how activist, feminist, and Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler ended up on board as a consultant. 

Huntington-Whiteley talked about Ensler’s role during a recent interview with Esquire. She explains that Ensler helped the actors dig deep into complex emotional narratives. “We were able to pick her brain for a week. She told us the most tragic stories I’ve ever heard in my life, which gave us so much background to our characters,” said the Transformers star. “It was a privilege to have her around to make these characters something more then [sic] five beautiful girls.” 

The actress is right: It would have been easy to allow five pretty girls to fall flat as characters, and insight from Ensler no doubt helped to create dynamism that will make them each memorable. It's also good to see George Miller acknowledge that he was out of his element and needed to call in an expert on the subject of female sexual subjugation; not all directors can recognize when they're out of their wheelhouse. Or, put another way: It's about damned time women were credited for knowing more about female bodies than anyone else.

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