Mad Max: Fury Road reinvigorated theatre’s primary post-apocalyptic series. Starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, the 2015 movie not only was a critical success but was named one of the greatest action films ever made by Rolling Stone. But would it have been such a classic had it starred Eminem and Rihanna?
As published in Vulture, a newly released excerpt from Kyle Buchanan’s forthcoming book Blood, Sweat, & Chrome has revealed new details about the movie’s production. One of the biggest revelations is that director George Miller’s search for actors “was expensive and extensive,” and included close looks at the two music icons.
Both Eminem and Rihanna had leading Hollywood roles before, with Eminem earning praise for his work in 2002’s 8 Mile. Rihanna, meanwhile, appeared in 2012’s Battleship, for which she won Worst Supporting Actress at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
Eminem almost played Tom Hardy’s part in Mad Max: Fury Road
Rihanna was considered for the role of one of Immortan Joe’s five wives; Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie were also considered. The Barbadian singer even auditioned for the role, with Miller saying she “looked spectacular when she walked in.”
I’m not sure she was even aware of the content of the movie, so she dressed up as Rihanna. Which was the right thing to do.
However, perhaps the bigger surprise is that Eminem was considered for the lead role of Max. Others actors considered were Michael Fassbender, Heath Ledger, Joel Kinnaman and Eric Bana. “He’d done 8 Mile, and I found that really interesting. I thought He’s got that quality,” Miller recalls in the new book. “[Brittany Murphy] had no reservations about saying what a wonderful talent he is.”
Plans to feature Eminem in the lead progressed to the point that Fury Road storyboard artist Mark Sexton was “brought in to redraw a bunch of storyboards in March 2007 and do a bunch of cut-and-pastes to put blond hair on Max.”
However, it wasn’t to be, as Miller told Buchanan that the rapper “simply didn’t want to leave home” to shoot in Australia. “I think he had the impression that if he could do it out of his home state, then he’d be up for it.”
Tom Hardy ably stepped into the boots of Mel Gibson, bringing the character of Max to a whole new generation of theatergoers. However, fan reception was mixed, and the movie took less than $400 million at the box office, with no true sequel seemingly on the horizon.
Kyle Buchanan’s Blood, Sweat, & Chrome: The Wild And True Story Of Mad Max: Fury Road is released on February 22nd.