While Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best action movies of the past decade, the film had a troubled production which included being shut down several times, director George Miller’s sheer ambition, and on-set conflicts between stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.
However, in an oral history of the making of Mad Max: Fury Road in the New York Times, Miller and the cast opened up about the difficult production and the tension between the two lead characters while being secluded in the Namibian desert for months on end.
“The biggest thing that was driving that entire production was fear,” Theron stated.” I was incredibly scared, because I’d never done anything like it. I think the hardest thing between me and George is that he had the movie in his head and I was so desperate to understand it.”
Hardy expressed his concerns during the shooting process but trusted the director that it would all make sense in the final product.
“Because of how much detail we were having to process and how little control one had in each new situation, and how fast the takes were — tiny snippets of story moments were needed to make the final cut work — we moved fast, and it was at times overwhelming. One had to trust that the bigger picture was being held together.”
Due to the growing frustrations and confusion on-set, Zoe Kravitz recalls times when both Hardy and Theron would take their anger out on Miller as a result of a communication breakdown.
“Tom really had moments of frustration, of anger. Charlize did, too, but I feel like he’s the one who really took it out on George the most, and that was a bummer to see,” Kravitz said. “But you know, in some ways, you also can’t blame him, because a lot was being asked of these actors and there were a lot of unanswered questions.”
Theron continues to express that both she and Hardy were scared but failed to communicate with one another to help get through the shoot.
“In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what [Hardy] must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes. That is frightening! And I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, ‘This is scary for you, and it’s scary for me, too. Let’s be nice to each other.’ In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival.”
Hardy echoed the previous comments by Theron as they were both under an extreme amount of pressure.
“I would agree. I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways. The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times. What she needed was a better, perhaps more experienced, partner in me. That’s something that can’t be faked. I’d like to think that now that I’m older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion.”
Despite the troubled production, the hard work and dedication definitely paid off in the final product which ended with ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won six including Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.
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