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The Reason George Miller Wanted Tina Turner For Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Acclaimed rock singer Tina Turner has died at the age of 83. While best known for her contributions to the music scene, Turner was a performer on multiple fronts, having also enjoyed a career in acting across a couple of notable productions. One of the musician's most iconic roles came in the form of George Miller's 1985 action film "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," in which she portrayed quasi-antagonist Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown who Mel Gibson's Max Rockatansky comes into conflict with. Casting Turner as an ostensible villain may have been a surprising choice to many viewers, but Miller actually had some very specific reasoning as to why he felt the performer was perfect for the role.

In an interview between Miller and Anne Billson of Time Out magazine, the director said that he wanted to develop Aunty as a tragic villain with sympathetic motives. "That's what we wanted with Tina Turner; we wanted to have the sense that before she built Bartertown, she was a genuine hero," he explained. "You could have told a story, almost like a Mad Max story, about her. But now, because she's holdfast... One of the main reasons we cast Tina Turner is that she's perceived as being a fairly positive persona. You don't think of Tina Turner as someone dark. You think of the core of Tina Turner being basically a positive thing."

Turner embraced her Mad Max role

George Miller's vision for Tina Turner as Aunty Entity in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" worked out, as the performer dedicated herself to the role quite extensively despite her relative lack of acting experience at the time. For one thing, she was willing to don quite the elaborate — and unwieldy — costume for the character, that being a 79 pound suit of metal armor paired with a set of high heels. Per an interview with the Chicago Tribune, she even convinced Miller and his co-director George Ogilvie to allow her to do most of her own stunts for the movie.

Turner hit all the right notes for Miller with her casting in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," bringing the confidence, enthusiasm, and positive energy that he had hoped for in the character. Despite this, she never actually communicated that much with the director regarding his aforementioned reasons for why he specifically wanted her in the role. When asked if she had ever inquired about the subject to the film's creatives, she simply responded: "I didn't have to ask."