Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Chris Hemsworth is twisted as Dementus in 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — “He understood the character straight away,” was what director George Miller said as he watched Chris Hemsworth read the screenplay for "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga." In the highly anticipated expansion to the Mad Max universe, Hemsworth plays Dementus, the tyrannical warlord that kidnaps a child that would later become the legendary Furiosa.

Hemsworth has such an understanding of the character that director Miller thought was ideal for the role. “He understood his character such that I began to rely on him whenever he would say, ‘I think Dementus would do this…’ And suddenly, it became more than serving his performance or the characters, but serving the deeper narrative of the story.”

Hemsworth’s physicality and skill with stunts also proved useful as he took on the harsh Wasteland. “He understands how everything work," shares Miller. “And, of course, he’s very physically gifted, doing all his own stunts and constantly riding motorbikes in his real life, surfing, doing all that sort of stuff. And so he was ideal for this character. Once I met Chris, saw his response and understood what he was thinking and the way that dovetailed, I thought, ‘Okay, he’s the one who should take on Dementus.”

"Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" producer Doug Mitchell was fascinated by the initial conversation Miller had with Hemsworth about Dementus. “When they got to talking about villains, he said that they weren’t just table thumpers and screamers, people running around chopping people’s heads off — yes, some are. But, many of them have one characteristic. They’re often charismatic, very likable. And I think what started, which was an echo between George and Chris, was this idea that you play against kind. You know, if you’re an evil man, you hide that, as we see. And Chris was in 100%, like even before George was offering it,” Mitchell recalls.

Hemsworth, as Dementus, plays the role with an understanding of the character’s background and how it shaped the warlord. “Dementus is a complicated individual," says Hemsworth. "He's a product of this world — the violent, harsh reality that is the Wasteland. He’s been manipulated and sculpted through his experience, and I think that experience was one of immense tragedy, fear, pain and loss. This is what this place is, and everything is so desperate and raw. It’s day-to-day survival.”

Dementus’ relationship with Furiosa is a complicated one, and Hemsworth explains how he approached it. “He begins on some level to see an innocence and a purity to this individual that is a representation of what he’s lost. There is something he thinks otherworldly about her, because she is from the Green Place, and I think deep down inside him a little bit of humanity is awakened,” he says.

“Maybe he thinks that she reminds him of some other time in his life, his childhood, his younger years, before he was brutalized himself. He becomes very intrigued who this individual is, fascinated, infatuated, and then it becomes an almost paternal relationship in his eyes. I can’t speak to how Furiosa feels about him, but I think he sees it as his duty as a father figure to take care of her and prepare her for what’s to come.”

In a way, Hemsworth feels like Dementus has been one of his most impactful roles while playing a villain. “It was a real joy. To be able to track a villain from beginning to end — the history, his backstory, the amount of detail allowed in this film — is unlike anything I’ve done before. And I don’t know if I was actively seeking to play a character like this, but you’re always on the lookout for something that will get the fire going,” he says. “Certainly the first time I read it, it ignited something in me that I hadn’t felt for a long, long time… something from the moment I read it to the moment we finished shooting that has been spinning around my brain, and I’m sure it will continue to do so for a few more years. Good and bad.”

As the world fell, young Furiosa is snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers and falls into the hands of a great Biker Horde led by the Warlord Dementus. Sweeping through the Wasteland, they come across the Citadel presided over by The Immortan Joe. While the two Tyrants war for dominance, Furiosa must survive many trials as she puts together the means to find her way home.

This all-new original, standalone action adventure was directed by George Miller, script by Miller and “Mad Max: Fury Road” co-writer Nico Lathouris. Also starring Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role, Alyla Browne and Tom Burke.

In cinemas May 22, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Discovery company.

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