How the actresses behind The Wives in Mad Max: Fury Road are conquering Hollywood

When Mad Max: Fury Road was released back in May 2015, you would have been forgiven for not recognising any of the actresses who played The Wives (except perhaps for Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who held Transformers: Dark of the Moon fame, or Zoë Kravitz, who holds an extensive acting career), due to most of them being relative newcomers to Hollywood.

Consisting of two Australian actresses, two American actresses and one British actress, The Wives proved to be one of the most memorable and outstanding components within George Miller’s incredible film. From then on, these five actresses leaped firmly into our hearts and minds, as talents to keep a watchful eye upon.

Since Mad Max: Fury Road, almost all of these five actresses have gone on to even greater heights within the industry (in both film and television). Some of these projects are average in quality (Gods of Egypt) and some of these projects are absolutely outstanding (The Neon DemonThe Girlfriend Experience).

Critics' Choice The Wives

We aim to highlight the most impressive and better-known projects that these actresses went on to star within, with a view to recommending the best of these to anyone who hasn’t yet seen them. We also highlight the upcoming releases for these actresses, which are likely only to elevate their careers to even greater status. All of this is in aid of celebrating the blossoming careers of these superb young talents.

Please be aware that there are some spoilers for Mad Max: Fury Road  and for Gods of Egypt below.

Riley Keough (Capable)

Riley Keogh

The Girlfriend Experience (2016)

Riley Keough is the eldest grandchild of legendary singer Elvis Presley and the daughter of musicians Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough. She is currently the star of Starz’ television show The Girlfriend Experience, which is based on the 2009 Steven Soderbergh film of the same name. Riley first met Soderbergh at a Magic Mike staff dinner. Five years later, Soderbergh cast Riley in Starz’ 13-episode interpretation of the story, which Soderbergh was also co-producing.

We’ve seen the entire first season of The Girlfriend Experience and it’s a smart, taught and wonderfully refined show. In Mad Max: Fury Road Riley took somewhat of a backseat in her role as Capable, due to the large cast. Here, she is front and centre, and feels like an entirely different person. The role of Christine is intense and wholly demanding of an actress, in a variety of ways, and Riley really sinks her teeth into it wholeheartedly, providing a character who is not that likeable (by design), but who is certainly very beautiful and very strong.

It’s quite a leap to go from turns in a variety of small full length and short length features to being the lead in your own television show. It’s then harder still to nail this in a unique and impressive manner, which is exactly what Riley has accomplished. We can only see her career flourishing from here; likely in similarly smart and arty ventures.

Upcoming roles

Riley’s upcoming films range from We Don’t Belong Here, alongside the late Anton Yelchin, to The Discovery, alongside Rooney Mara, to Logan Lucky, which is Steven Soderbergh’s next film and shows that he enjoys working with Keough. Following those is Welcome the Stranger, which also stars the another actress from The Wives – Abbey Lee.

Abbey Lee (The Dag)

Abbey Lee

The Neon Demon (2016)

This year Nicolas Winding Refn released what we feel is his best film to date. In this boundary-pushing film, Australian actress and model Abbey Lee plays Sarah – one of the models who is jealous of Jesse (Elle Fanning), to the point of wanting to harm and consume her.

It’s a challenging role and there are long shots where Abbey is merely gazing at someone or something, but even during these shots you still feel that powerful intensity that is prevalent throughout Refn’s film. This is all down to Abbey’s acting ability and you’re certain to come out of this impressed by her performance. In terms of career elevation, appearing so prominently within Refn’s well-known and controversial film will no doubt place Abbey in good stead for future projects. Abbey also had a small role in Gods of Egypt, alongside Courtney Eaton.

Upcoming roles

Abbey’s future releases include Office Christmas Party, with Jennifer Anniston and Olivia Munn, the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower, which is certain to be a huge release, and Welcome to the Stranger, with Riley Keough.

Courtney Eaton (Cheedo the Fragile)

Courtney Eaton

Gods of Egypt (2016)

Courtney Eaton is the second Australian actress on this list and also the youngest of The Wives actresses (at only 20 years old). Mad Max: Fury Road was her very first film and she knew nothing of the Mad Max films before she was cast in the role (causing her Father – a big fan of the franchise – to tell her all about them). Courtney is our personal favourite of the group and we’d love to see her go far.

Following Mad Max: Fury Road she took a role in Gods of Egypt as Zaya (A.K.A. The Beauty of the Nile). Although the film was critically panned (with it only holding 16% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing), it still placed Courtney in a central role and more firmly on the map of Hollywood. Her turn in the film is alluring yet relatively brief-lived. Her character suffers a sudden and surprising death (which is rather reminiscent of The Splendid Angharad’s similar fate in Mad Max: Fury Road), but lives on in the Underworld until the film’s final act.

Upcoming roles

Courtney only has one upcoming film, which is Status Update – a film about a magic social media app that causes a teen’s dreams to come true. This film is in the post-production stage and is scheduled for a 2017 release. We hope that there are more projects on the horizon for Courtney soon.

Zoë Kravitz (Toast the Knowing)

Zoë Kravitz as Christina in Allegiant.
Zoë Kravitz as Christina in Allegiant.

Allegiant (2016)

Zoë is the daughter of famous rock musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet. Zoë is lead singer of the band Elevator Fight is the only actress in this group (bar Riley Keough) who already held a long and thriving acting career prior to Mad Max: Fury Road. She previously had turns in The Brave OneCalifnornicationX-Men: First ClassDivergent and more. Our list aims to look at where these actresses’ careers have taken them post-Mad Max, however, so our focus is on here biggest film since then, which is Allegiant (the sequel to Divergent).

In Allegiant Zoë played Christina – a Dauntless initiate who is one of Tris’ best friends. Although Zoë has been in a franchise before (X-Men), in that franchise she played a smaller character (Angel Salvadore) that did not recur in future films. In the Divergent franchise, Zoë plays an important and recurring character, which is what makes this role her most important post-Mad Max performance to date.

Upcoming roles

Zoe has an immense amount of output on the horizon. First up is Black Belle, then Viena and the Fantomes, alongside Evan Rachel Wood and Dakota Fanning, then the immensely popular Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which already has a sequel announced, then a television show titled Big Little Lies, then Rock that Body, alongside Scarlett Johansson, then finally Gemini.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (The Splendid Angharad)

Despite having starred in one big film franchise prior to Mad Max: Fury Road – Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Rosie hasn’t acted in anything post-Mad Max and has no film projects in the works. She is therefore the only exception within this group, in relation to actively pursuing an acting career post-Mad Max. Rosie currently holds a thriving modelling career.

We hope that our list gave you some worthwhile insight into the blossoming careers of these five actresses and gave you an idea of which projects to look out for them in next. Who is your favourite of the group? Do you have any roles in mind that you would love to see one of these actresses take on? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Image credits: Starz, Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Kennedy Miller Productions, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Space Rocket Nation, Vendian Entertainment, Bold Films, Pyramania, Summit Entertainment, Mystery Clock Cinema, TIK Films, Thunder Road Pictures, Lionsgate, Red Wagon Entertainment, Summit Entertainment


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