Anya Taylor-Joy had a 'tough time' filming 78-day Furiosa action scene

Tom Burke speaks with Yahoo UK about the most explosive action sequence of the movie

Watch: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga star Tom Burke discusses filming film's epic action sequence

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga has already been described as a "lonely experience" by Anya Taylor-Joy, and her co-star Tom Burke tells Yahoo how tough it was for her to film the movie's biggest scene — a road warrior race that's been dubbed the "Stairway to Nowhere".

An epic 15-minute sequence set on a war rig as it hurtles down a desert road whilst those on it are being preyed on by a rival biker gang, it is a quintessential Mad Max moment. It also represents a big moment for Taylor-Joy, who must traverse the set as almost 200 stunt performers work around her.

Burke's Praetorian Jack is also a central figure of the scene, as he is the one driving the war rig as it is being attacked and keeps his cool whilst doing so. The actor explains: "I loved it, I absolutely loved it. I know Anya had a tougher time than I did cause she's underneath the war rig, got on top of the war rig, getting swung around, hitting bits of her body.

"And I'm largely just driving the vehicle, which is a whole other thing, but I absolutely loved it."

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)
Anya Taylor-Joy had it 'tougher' than Tom Burke filming an epic Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga scene over 78 days because of how much she had to do. (Warner Bros.)

The film was shot in multiple locations, with Burke doing many of the scenes himself — only the external, far away shots were filmed by another person, he says. "Obviously, a lot of that was stationary because there's fire, so you don't want a moving vehicle full of petrol when there's actual fire," he adds.

Read more: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga makes Cannes debut with rave reviews

Praetorian Jack is the only source of slight in the gritty, dark world that Taylor-Joy's Furiosa finds herself in, and has been fighting to survive in for years after being kidnapped by Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) when she was a child. They meet in the Citadel where Immortan Joe rules his cult during the years before the events of 2015's Fury Road, which starred Charlize Theron in the role.

Burke has only high praise for Taylor-Joy and the way she's been able to take the baton from Theron, saying: "There are amazing actors that one wants to work with, and some of them are very self-sufficient and they kind of do it all for you and you find yourself going 'OK, wow, that's amazing. What do I do?'

"Anya wants to discover it together and that's what I want, so that was why it felt like [we were] such a good team."

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)
Tom Burke's Praetorian Jack is a central figure in the film, as Furiosa's only source of light in a dark and brutal world. (Warner Bros.)

The way they made Furiosa and Jack's relationship work onscreen was to talk with each other, and get a good sense of their characters and their backstories even if the film doesn't overtly spell things out for viewers, including their romantic connection.

"We talked a lot about what it was in each chapter and beat," Burke explains, "What it was and when it might shift, what's shifting and what's being pushed over there and what's just doesn't feel even for possible. How much are they even open to that to begin with, if they've been conditioned in that way."

Most of their scenes, and indeed most of the film, features few words, Taylor-Joy only has 30 lines of dialogue in the whole movie. But this, Burke says, was fascinating: "It's the great challenge of film, somebody called it the silent soliloquy. That's why so many actors want to have a go, it's very different from theatre in that respect."

Burke also says that he found Hemsworth "brilliant" in the role of Dementus, saying of his villainous turn: "There was a danger there, even when he was very much in charge of the wit of it there was an edge to it and just seeing him shift his whole physical centre from anything I've seen him do before and very much not what Chris is."

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)
Tom Burke also praised Chris Hemsworth for his performance as villain Dementus, saying there was a 'danger' to him. (Warner Bros.)

The actor says that "everyday" he was in awe of being part of such a huge production, with him saying of working with franchise creator George Miller: "I think he's the most amazing human being and I wouldn't say that for the sake of saying it, he's really an amazing human being and you imagine somebody who's having to spin that many plates would just lose it or snap or be a little bit in a hurry.

"He's just so there, he's just so in the present moment, he's so generous with his energy. He really listens to everyone."

Read more: What happened between Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy on Mad Max: Fury Road set?

Burke could even make his own suggestions for Praetorian Jack and his history, especially because the character was very much a blank slate. "That's the thing, you feel like you're really authoring your own little section of the movie in that way, and there there was 2 weeks if not more of, me, Anya, George, Nick [Lathouris, who co-wrote the script] and I sitting around hashing it out."

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)
Tom Burke has only high praise for Anya Taylor-Joy and the way she's been able to take the baton from Theron, saying actors like her 'kind of do it all for you'. (Warner Bros.)

"He thought that it was good if Jack's parents had known the man, the general who eventually became the tyrant Immortan Joe," he adds.

"And so it was [about] filling in how they got to the Citadel and what that journey had been and what had happened on the way, and who else was there and who didn't make it. Trying to find stuff that, in some way, would be echoed by the story itself."

The actor was particularly impressed with Miller's approach to Furiosa's origin story: "What's great about the whole film is that from the first scene there's this brilliant point of change, there's a brilliant moment of decision in every scene.

"George never wants to be repetitive, so all that's investigated and [it's about asking] what's the more interesting option?"

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga premieres in cinemas on Friday, 24 May.