Mad Max: Fury Road introduces another new corner to the post-apocalyptic Australian universe. When Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is captured, he joins the escape of Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and the five women she’s rescuing from Immortan Joe. Those include well known actors Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Zoe Kravitz and Riley Keough, along with two new faces, Abbey Lee and Courtney Eaton.
I met Lee and Eaton in Los Angeles for interviews about Mad Max: Fury Road, their first film. Both were models who are now full time actors thanks to Mad Max creator George Miller. Mad Max: Fury Road opens Friday, May 15 with early shows Thursday at 7PM.
Nerd Report: This is your first movie. How did this happen for you?
Courtney Eaton: Yeah, it’s crazy. I was still in school. I was with a modeling agency. I was too young to be doing anything and the casting directors came and found me and asked me to audition. I got a few callbacks and I got it. And then I fell in love with acting and I just keep going.
Nerd Report: Where were you going to school?
Courtney Eaton: Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School. It was high school in West Australia.
Nerd Report: Did they already know the look they were going for, or did they develop that with you?
Courtney Eaton: George’s characters and stories come to him in dreams, so he’s really specific when he’s casting. Both Abbey and I were the last to be cast.
Nerd Report: So you fell in love with acting. Do you expect every movie to be as intense as Mad Max: Fury Road?
Courtney Eaton: No, I think Mad Max is kind of like a one off. Nothing’s going to come close to the experience.
Nerd Report: Were you excited to be around all the big cars?
Courtney Eaton: Yes. It was pretty rad. I loved the second unit which was all the stunts and the cars. It was fun going over there and watching all that. It was pretty amazing.
Nerd Report: Did you get to work on the big rig?
Courtney Eaton: At the salt lake place, we were out pushing tires and trying to get the car going again.
Nerd Report: Did you have to sit in the backseat for every scene just for continuity?
Courtney Eaton: Yeah, we were in the back of it for the majority of the film until I go over to the Gigahorse or we’re on the Vuvalinis’ motorbikes. We’re in that rig a lot.
Nerd Report: How hot was the sand in the Namibian desert?
Courtney Eaton: It was freezing. Everyone thinks it was hot. It was freezing. It was their winter. Riley got hypothermia. It was that cold. We had hot water bottles and jackets. It was really cold.
Nerd Report: You’re barefoot on the sand and I was worried it would be hot. Did it actually freeze you?
Courtney Eaton: Yeah, we were trying to keep warm a lot of the time. We had hot chocolate and big coats and water bottles, and then we’d all snuggle up. We’re in the back so we all had the five of us to cuddle up with.
Nerd Report: In that one scene, you’re all sleeping on top of each other. Was that fun?
Courtney Eaton: Between takes, we were sleeping. We were in there a lot so we just napped and ate in there. It was our home away from home.
Nerd Report: How many costume fittings did you have for Ceedo the Fragile?
Courtney Eaton: I mean, not that many. We only really had like two because our costumes are pretty simple. They’re just rags and each have their own personality, but it was quick.
Nerd Report: They look simple, but were they carefully designed so we can tell you each apart?
Courtney Eaton: Oh, definitely. Everyone has their own little flair to their costumes.
Nerd Report: Did Charlize Theron become like a protective mother to the four of you?
Courtney Eaton: Yeah, we were talking about her before. In real life she was our protector and she took us under her wing because we were all out of sorts. We were in the middle of the desert for six months so she definitely looked after us.
Nerd Report: Are you looking forward to doing a quiet character drama next?
Courtney Eaton: I’m open to anything. Indies, I just did another action film, so I’m open to anything. I’m a very go with the flow person, so whatever comes my way that I like the look of and that excites me, I go with it.
Nerd Report: What’s Gods of Egypt?
Courtney Eaton: Gods of Egypt is directed by Alex Proyas and he’s incredible and lots of fun. A lot of action. It’s really interesting.
Nerd Report: Do you play a character from Egyptian mythology?
Courtney Eaton: No, I’m one of the humans. I play the love interest of Bek who is played by Brenton Thwaites. We’re the humans that help the Gods save Egypt.
Nerd Report: Do you get to be hands on in battle again like in Mad Max: Fury Road?
Courtney Eaton: Not really. I’m more the, I wouldn’t say the damsel in distress, but everyone’s trying to help me. I’m not in the action. I wish I was.
Nerd Report: Are you going on auditions now?
Courtney Eaton: Yeah, I live here now. I’m just concentrating on press for this and when I finish this, I’m going to start press for Gods of Egypt, so it’s busy right now.
Nerd Report: And waiting for everyone to see Mad Max: Fury Road.
Courtney Eaton: Yeah, not long until everyone sees it so it’ll be good.
Nerd Report: Even though you fell into acting, did you ever think about being an action heroine?
Courtney Eaton: No, I never thought of acting as a career. At school I did drama and I wasn’t shy, but I didn’t like getting up in front of people and performing in that sense. So I didn’t think that that was ever going to happen. Then I learned that it wasn’t like that.
Nerd Report: Are you more comfortable doing it for cameras?
Courtney Eaton: Definitely. I don’t think I could do theater right now, but maybe some day down the track. It’s different.
Nerd Report: Why do you think that is? What made you more at home on a set in front of cameras?
Courtney Eaton: I don’t think I’d be able to pinpoint it, but you kind of blank out how many people are there. I don’t know, you’re in a kind of world.
Nerd Report: How have you adjusted to living in Los Angeles?
Courtney Eaton: I traveled a lot before moving out here so I’m used to living abroad. It’s nice and the weather’s very similar to Australia which is nice. It’s good. I have a lot of friends out here so it’s nice.
Nerd Report: It is similar? I’ve never been to Australia.
Courtney Eaton: Yeah, the weather is pretty similar to Australia and your winter is the same as ours so it’s nice.
Nerd Report: What was Namibia like while shooting Mad Max: Fury Road?
Courtney Eaton: We were there for six months. It was a lot of sand. It was the desert. We were in a really small town. There wasn’t much to do but we just had each other and it was fun.