Tom Burke Calls ‘Furiosa’ Co-Star Anya Taylor-Joy the ‘Best Version of a Method Actress’

Tom Burke knows how to play a toxic character, as proven by his work in films like “The Souvenir” and “Mank.” One might think playing a nice guy would come as an enjoyable change of pace for him, but when that nice guy is in a film like “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” keeping up with the pace can be its own separate challenge. In a recent interview with GQ, Burke recalls how, despite excitement around the possibility, he initially thought the role of Praetorian Jack — mentor to Furiosa — wouldn’t be one that fit him all that well.

“I thought, I’m not going to get that job,” said Burke, “but wow, that sounds amazing. Cut to my manager saying, ‘George Miller wants to have a chat with you.’ And I was like, ‘When? What’s he seen? ‘Souvenir?’’ I mean look, I’m proud of ‘Souvenir,’ I’m proud of ‘Mank,’ but I didn’t know what kind of guy George Miller was. I should have known from seeing the films, but he wants to get the acting right.”

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So Burke got to work. He got in touch with one of his teachers at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to get himself in the right mindset. Burke also talked writer/director George Miller’s ear off.

“I asked George a lot of questions,” Burke said to GQ. “Where do they sleep? Where do they eat? What do they eat? What happens when they’re not doing this? Who do I know? How many times have I been in a room with Immortan Joe? What are the parameters of this character’s world? And then we filled in a lot.”

Their conversations even included what Furiosa and Jack would do in their downtime. As Burke recalled: “I think there was a whole thing with the vermin in the Citadel—they sit around shooting at rats. It was that kind of thing.”

Having such an in-depth background to work with helped Burke and titular star Anya Taylor-Joy inform their characters’ relationship, sometimes without even words.

“She’s the best version of a Method actress in that way,” he said of his co-star, “because she still wants to be affected by her environment. She doesn’t disappear off between takes and she doesn’t need everyone to call her Furiosa. She’s in the room with you. But then, action. And so I’m not surprised. Your body doesn’t know you’re lying when you’re acting if you’re doing it properly. Your mind does, because otherwise, you’re nuts, but your body doesn’t know and you have to give space for that. You have to be aware of that. Look after yourself.”

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