VAGINA MONOLOGUES’ Eve Ensler Was MAD MAX: FURY ROAD’s Most Unlikely Consultant

How the writer informed the backstory of MAD MAX's female characters.

I have seen Mad Max: Fury Road, but embargoes mean I cannot tell you whether or not it's an instant classic or anything. I'm not even sure I can tell you that the film has incredibly deep and subtle themes, including a powerful and surprising feminist slant that takes the form of a critique of the patriarchy. But if I could tell you that, I would tell it to you in the context of explaining why Eve Ensler was brought on to consult. 

Ensler is famous for The Vagina Monologues, an episodic (and ever growing) play about the breadth of women's experiences, issues, suffering, sexuality and joy. It's a really moving work, and it's one of those deeply important pieces of theater that reminds you how art can actually move the dial on our society for good. 

In the film Max (Tom Hardy) comes to help Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who is rescuing a group of women who are enslaved as the wives of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Bryne) and forced to breed him perfect children, as opposed to the post-apocalyptic mutant types and cancer victims who make up his Warboys. For most filmmakers these women would have been a secondary consideration, but George Miller, the genius behind the film, wanted to make sure their characters had a depth and a grounding in reality beyond what he - an old white dude - could give them. And so he flew in Ensler. 

Talking to Esquire Rosie Huntington-Whitely, one of the wives, explains how Ensler was important to the process of the actresses playing the five wives: 

We were so lucky that George arranged for Eve Ensler, who wrote the Vagina Monologues, to fly in and work with us girls for about a week. We did extensive research with her. Eve herself has had a very intense life. She’s spent time in the Congo working with rape victims and women who have had unthinkable things happen to them through the power of men’s hands. 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. We really wanted to kind of showcase that. It was a privilege to have her around to make these characters something more then just five beautiful girls.

It shows in the movie, where the women aren't just MacGuffins but are unique characters, each with a unique way of dealing with her trauma and survival. It's a testament to just how good... wait, I can't say anything else.