It would be an understatement to say that Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the most visually spectacular action movies in the history of cinema. A true labor of love for creator George Miller, the long-awaited third installment in the post-apocalyptic franchise spent three decades in development hell before going on to endure one of the most arduous shoots in recent history.
For a long time, it seemed as though Fury Road was cursed, having seen production delayed so many times that filming was finally completed almost four years after Tom Hardy had first been cast in the title role. The end result turned out to be totally worth the trouble and then some though, with the movie going on to earn over $375 million at the box office and land an impressive ten nominations at the Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, where it would pick up six wins in the technical categories.
However, there were frequent reports of tension between stars Hardy and Charlize Theron on the set, which hardly seemed surprising given the nature of a project like Fury Road, and in a recent interview, both actors admitted that while they eventually put their differences to one side, the unique and incredibly complex nature of the shoot inevitably created some conflict between them.
Theron explained that she was so concerned with her own role in the movie that she failed to acknowledge that Hardy was arguably under even more pressure by following in the iconic footsteps of Mel Gibson’s Max Rockatansky.
“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. 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 also shouldered much of the blame for the two A-list stars failing to see eye to eye, admitting that headlining a blockbuster action movie wasn’t exactly something that he was familiar with, and that his inexperience played a role in the tension between himself and Theron.
“I think in hindsight, I was 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.”
A lot of movies over the years have featured casts that didn’t exactly get along all the time, and it often results in the final product being all the better for it. Mad Max: Fury Road is definitely among them, and there’s every chance it wouldn’t have turned out quite so spectacularly if everything was sunshine and roses between Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron on set.