Mad Max: Fury Road was the best action movie of the past 10 years, bar none. Essentially one long chase scene, the imaginative, ambitious film was set in a post-apocalyptic worlds where brutal warlords rule over a barren desert, with decent people like Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and Mad Max himself (Tom Hardy) trying to make their way in an impossible situation.
God, it was so good. I wanna go watch it again.
And now, director George Miller has confirmed that we’re getting a prequel all about Theron’s one-armed, hard-as-nails desert big rig driver, but unfortunately, Theron herself won’t be in it.
The movie is set when Furiosa is around 20; Miller actually wrote the script before filming Furty Road, so both he and Theron could get a hold of the character, which shows you just how seriously everyone approached this ridiculous, wonderful movie. They could probably use some movie magic to age down the 44-year-old Theron, Miller isn’t convinced it would work. “Despite the valiant attempts on The Irishman, I think there’s still an uncanny valley,” the 75-year-old director told The New York Times. “Everyone is on the verge of solving it, particular Japanese video-game designers, but there’s still a pretty wide valley, I believe.”
I guess that’s reasonable, but Theron was so dynamic in Fury Road that I want to see more. Maybe a sequel could follow?
I’ll hold out hope for that, but talking about the move in a new oral history, it sounds like making it was hard. “Like anything that has some worth to it, it comes with complicated feelings,” said Theron. “I feel a mixture of extreme joy that we achieved what we did, and I also get a little bit of a hole in my stomach. There’s a level of ‘the body remembers’ trauma related to the shooting of this film that’s still there for me.”
Mad Max: Fury Road is non-stop high-octane over-the-top action pretty much from start to finish, so I can imagine how physically taxing it must have been. There was also some tension between Theron, Hardy and Miller, which gets explored in this history. “Tom really had moments of frustration, of anger,” recalled Zoe Kravitz, who played one of the wives of villain Immortan Joe. “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. 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.”
Hardy, for his part, admits that he may have been ““in over my head in many ways” and that Theron needed “a better, perhaps more experienced, partner in me.” I don’t really know how much anyone could prepare for that kind of shoot. “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,” he said.
Theron, however, is able to look back and put things in context: “In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes,” she said. “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.”
And of course, there was interference from the suits. The movie had to shut down production several times, with Miller at first ordered to wrap before he could film the opening and closing bits at the Citadel. “When someone is directing a film, they’re thinking about it every waking hour, and even processing it in their dreams,” Miller said. “The problem is, if you’re a studio executive, you tend to think about it for 10 minutes on a Wednesday.”
However it happened, Theron, Hardy, Miller and the rest of the team produced one hell of a movie. Maybe it’ll be easier the next time…?
h/t The A.V. Club