2015’s Mad Max Fury Road has been voted by a variety of critics as one of the best films of the last ten years but its arrival at the screen was beset with problems which set a new bench mark for action films with its stunningly staged stunt spectacles. The troubled production ended up being nominated for 10 Oscars and winning six.
The fourth film had remained dormant after the third film in 1985 until 1998 when writer / director George Miller had the idea and together with Doug Mitchell they considered Uma Thurman for the lead female role although Charlize Theron had been in talks and the film was intended to be shot in 2003 for 20th Century Fox but after 9/11 things changed, Insurance was difficult as it was going to be shot in Namibia, the purpose built vehicles could not be transported and the project went into turnaround. Miller moved on to the Happy feet animated film which was a huge success and gave him the clout to get Mad Max Fury Road moving again but by Mel Gibson had become something of a Hollywood outcast due to a number of well known outbursts but Gibson was also too old to play Max and Jeremy Renner had been a contender for the role but it was Tom Hardy who got the gig and was the first to admit that the sheer scale was bigger than anything he’ ever worked on. At the same time groups of young women were auditioned in improvised scenes for the roles of Immortan Joe’s wives and Zoe Kravitiz when she was left n a room to read the secret script found that it was essentially a long comic book.
Filming was set for 2010 in Broken Hill, Australia where the previous films had shot but when the desert had an unexpected deluge of torrential rain and plants and flowers started popping up the shoot was cancelled two weeks before the first day of filming. So it was decided to relocate to Namibia again and in July 2012 Mad Max Fury Road began shooting in the desert. After years of CGI Miller was to shoot it all for real in all too dangerous action scenes if it wasn’t for a superb stunt team many of which regarding it as a dream to work on as multiple stunts were shot each day.
Theron’s Furiosa character changed in appearance too having had tribal markings on her face and long hair it was soon to disappear when the actress mentioned that all the hair would get in the way if she was a mechanic and off it all came. But what really drove the production was fear. The 5 wives were all relatively inexperienced, for Theron and Hardy it was the biggest film they had worked on, the film was composed of quick short shots many with them all stuck in the cabin of a huge truck in inhospitable conditions wearing very little during winter which, despite it being a desert was very cold and one of them contracted hypothermia. …..and filming went on for nine months in the middle of nowhere. Tempers frayed and its well known that Hardy and Theron fell out with both feeling under pressure and Hardy admitting to feeling out of his depth.
By now Jeff Robinow the studio head for Warners was concerned that the film with its 600 strong cast and crew was both behind schedule and over budget and he flew out to Namibia and lay down the law that Miller would stop filming on December 8th regardless. They were nowhere near being competed by then as scenes that book ended the film in the citadel had not been shot making the film incomprehensible. It was hardly a surprise that Miller had lost a ton of weight through stress. The film would spend a year being edited but during this time Robinow lost his job and Kevin Tsujihara took over and told Miller to shoot the rest of the film. Late 2013 saw the crew reassembled in Australia with Hardy and Theron and it was finished.
May 2015 saw Mad Max Fury Road released having had huge applause and critical kudos at Cannes film festival and by the time the film had finished its theatrical run it had earned $375m from its $150m budget and amongst its 10 Oscar nominations was Best Film & Best Director losing out to Spotlight and Alejandro Inarritu (The Revenant).
As for a Mad Max 5, well read about that HERE ….who knows?
source: new york times