Cast Talk MAD MAX: FURY ROAD; Black & White Coming To Blu-Ray; Sequel Title

Coming off near universally positive reviews, Mad Max: Fury Road had a solid opening weekend, but it wasn’t quite the stratosphere-breaking number that some were hoping. Pitch Perfect 2 was always going to win the weekend given its PG-13 rating, broad fanbase, and the fact that it’s a female-led movie marketed to female moviegoers (shocker: when Hollywood decides to make them, these movies do well!), but with a reported $150 million budget, some see Fury Road’s $44 million opening as disappointing. Why? Because they want a sequel, of course.

Director George Miller hasn’t been shy about the fact that he’s planned more than one new Mad Max movie, previously confirming that he’s written the follow-ups. Speaking on The Q&A Podcast with Jeff Goldsmith (via The Playlist), Miller went one further and confirmed that the Fury Road follow-up is titled Mad Max: The Wasteland:

“We’ve got one screenplay and a novella. It happened because with the delays [on Fury Road] and writing all the backstories, they just expanded.”

Indeed Miller seems keen on continuing this franchise, but that will depend on a couple of factors. First of all is box office, seeing as how Miller’s way of making these movies (ie. the way that ends in a masterpiece) isn’t cheap. For an R-rated movie Fury Road is doing fine and should have legs, but we’ll have to see how it continues over the next few weeks. But hey, if Pacific Rim’s box office was enough to warrant a sequel, Fury Road shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

The other factor is the actors. It’s no secret that Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy butted heads on set, and indeed Theron confirmed to Esquire that it was a tough shoot:

“We fuckin’ went at it, yeah. And on other days, he and George [Miller, the director] went at it. It was the isolation, and the fact that we were stuck in a rig for the entire shoot. We shot a war movie on a moving truck — there’s very little green screen. It was like a family road trip that just never went anywhere. We never got anywhere. We just drove. We drove into nothingness, and that was maddening sometimes. And it’s material that’s really frightening — we didn’t have a script. Tom and I are actors who take our jobs seriously. Both of us want to please the directors we work with, and when you don’t know if you can deliver on that, it’s a frightening place to be — and for Tom more than me, because he was stepping into big shoes.”

Theron has said previously that she’s not crazy about returning given how grueling a shoot Fury Road was. Action sequences aren’t fun to shoot, and when you consider that Fury Road is nothing but action sequences, it becomes a really tough production for an actor. Of course The Wasteland could be more Max-centric, so it’s also possible Furiosa doesn’t return.

At the Los Angeles press day Collider had landed an interview with George Miller. He talked about the various challenges of making Mad Max: Fury Road, deleted scenes, if he’ll do an extended cut on the Blu-ray, what version he test screened in Burbank a year ago, what his version of Contact would have been like, if he has a lot of unproduced screenplays, if making a superhero movie is still on his list of things to do (he came thisclose to making Justice League), and a lot more.

Speaking with /Film, the filmmaker discussed a black and white cut of Fury Road that he says is the best version of the film:

“We spent a lot of time in DI (digital intermediate), and we had a very fine colorist, Eric Whipp. One thing I’ve noticed is that the default position for everyone is to de-saturate post-apocalyptic movies. There’s only two ways to go, make them black and white — the best version of this movie is black and white, but people reserve that for art movies now. The other version is to really go all-out on the color. The usual teal and orange thing? That’s all the colors we had to work with. The desert’s orange and the sky is teal, and we either could de-saturate it, or crank it up, to differentiate the movie. Plus, it can get really tiring watching this dull, de-saturated color, unless you go all the way out and make it black and white.”

It’s fascinating to hear Miller say he prefers this black and white version, especially since the over-saturated nature of the visuals are one of the (many) reasons Fury Road stands out as distinct amongst a sea of other blockbusters. However, if you’re curious about this black and white cut, there’s a strong possibility you’ll get to see it. Per /Film, Miller aims to put this version on the Blu-ray:

A while after this talk, during a post-film reception, I spoke with Miller about his affinity for that black and white version of Fury Road. He said that he has demanded a black and white version of Fury Road for the Blu-ray, and that version of the film will feature an option to hear just the isolated score as the only soundtrack — the purest and most stripped-down version of Fury Road you can imagine.

Collider had an interview with Tom Hardy. He talked about making Fury Road, filming on location in Namibia, what he learned from making such a massive movie, collaborating with George Miller and how the film has one of the “coolest female leads ever”.

What day did you realize when you were filming, ‘Holy fuck. Are we gonna get through this thing?’ Because of the practicality and the actual filming of this thing.

HARDY: I think day one, as soon as we landed. Because we were in the middle of nowhere—well actually Namibia is not in the middle of nowhere, if you’re in Namibia it’s absolutely fine. If you’re logistically trying to create an X amount of hundred million dollar movie, and you’re that far away from Los Angeles and you’re that far away from Australia which your home base is, Namibia is right in the middle of both of those places in the middle of the desert and it could be hard to get anything to and from that place and all that crap. Those vehicles, the stars, the camera crew, the actors; just a kit, and then to take that kit and that equipment that you need and move it all around the locations that you have to manifest the huge infrastructure and epic nature of that movie. Day one since you arrived there it was so, ‘This is a beast’ and how do you eat an elephant? Which I suppose –metaphorically speaking– would be a mouthful at a time. So it became a very methodological approach, a step at a time for seven months or whatever it was. But every day was a big day for stunts and you knew that something could inevitably go wrong at any given time, so a lot of care was taken to avoid any of this. And not to mention, it’s not like a military film. You’re seeing military vehicles, it would kind of make more sense to see this kind of organization; but what you saw was some kind of Hell’s Angels, S&M, Cirque Du Soleil fetish party. In the middle of the desert. So it was kind of surreal as well to see this military campaign going on in the middle of the desert, as some kind of strange festival, an orchestration of mad, epic stunts, violence, and surrealism.

Yeah, it’s crazy. Are there a lot of deleted scenes in the movie that you remember filming that didn’t make the finished film?

HARDY: No. Everything that George [Miller] had in a 300 page sort of comic book document, frame by frame is accurately executed an up on the screen, but much more relentless and hydraulic and dynamic than it would be in a comic book.


HARDY: It was not until I saw the finished piece and I saw the latest version last night that I realized fully what George was trying to articulate on the floor. Because you couldn’t explain what I saw, and we wouldn’t have known—it was like trying to herd cats. He was trying to explain to us a color we hadn’t seen yet, so we were trying to understand but couldn’t have fully understood.

The thing that really struck me is that even though film is a hundred years old or over a hundred years old, I really think that he accomplished something that has not been done, in terms of telling the story. It’s innovative filmmaking, even with everything else that he’s done. Did you take that away from the film or what did you take away from the finished version?

HARDY: I can see what you’re saying, I think. I took a lot away from the film, to be fair. I mean a lot of it is hard to explain because I’d never done anything like this before. So now I think having worked with Alejandro [González Iñárritu]—now we’re eight months into it in another big sort of epic—my shoulders are wider enough to have the patience of how long it takes to get things of an epic nature done. So there is no end [Laughs], it’s easier to be, not patient, but to give myself over to a process which is seemingly relentless and unending, because I know there is an end to it and the results that can also be unequivocally masterful and brilliant. So I’ve learned that as a stretch. It was a muscle stretch as a performer because I’ve never done anything that big before, so Fury Road was a massive education for that.

As for filmmaking terms, I think George is somebody who challenges himself even though he’s getting up there towards 70 years of age now. This is a movie that one might attribute to a much more youthful perhaps director and a real mistake, because this is a wise man’s action movie, this is a man who’s had years and years of thoughts and meditation on his own. Everything from the original Mad Max to Babe, Happy Feet, which is historic and he’s really visited his world of which he’s created an entire culture, like a counterculture and a cult as it were. He’s really invested in it. He’s not come back and mad a superficial action movie, he’s come back and done three immediate things: He’s tested himself to a point where not only has he upped the finance behind his movie and subsequent downstream—there’s also films, and concepts, scripts, and comic books, and all kinds of stuff in the offing for George and a wealth of material on Mad Max. But also he pushed himself to a point where he got his team to do things that they hadn’t done before, like the stunt teams.

Chris Nolan would ask his folks to flip a truck or to take a plane out of the sky and that is an extensively difficult live-action stunt to do, because you want to see it done properly because it brings the audience in a bit closer as opposed to CGI or visual effects. George wanted to do that for an entire movie, so he demanded a huge amount of pressure of his stunt department and his drivers, they challenged them and they had to make that come true, and then you needed to cohesively hybrid that between the narrative storytelling with the characters and dialogue and physical action from the actors. They would seamlessly sort of blend it together with this action performance also combined together in a stylized design element, all of it is just his signature.
So he’s pushed himself there, and then if you listen to the soundtrack, again, George Miller, you can’t sell George Miller anything, he chooses what he wants, he goes out there he finds it. You can torture him, but ultimately George is very clear about what he wants and methodically with due diligence picks exactly what he wants to fulfill his vision. And he chose that dubstep and mixed it with like hard vehicle sort of sounds and ambience sounds. The man has one foot in the future, he’s in the present and he has a legacy of the past drawn together, so he’s challenged himself and he’s got a mythology there’s nothing underneath this epic movie.

That’s why I said out of all the movies I’ve seen, I’ve never seen anything like this.

HARDY: Makes sense what you’re saying, I guess I hear you.

It’s fucking bonkers and awesome.

HARDY: And then the next thing he does is he says it’s Mad Max and he actually delivers arguably one of the fucking coolest female leads ever, and she’s an amputee [Laughs]. As if it isn’t enough to have a female lead who’s like a person of great strength, let alone a female lead, but she’s got one arm. So, he’s killing it, right across the board. George’s mind is I think sacred, of sorts, and he articulates in great sensitivity so I think so there’s nothing glib.

Collider again had an interview with Abbey Lee (she plays one of the women on the run from Immortan Joe). She talked about how she got into acting from modeling, memorable moments filming Mad Max: Fury Road, what it’s been like filming Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon (she calls the film “mind bending”), her character in Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt, her worst jobs before acting/modeling, and a lot more.

Charlize Theron’s stunt double, Dayna Grant tweeted out a bunch of behind-the-scenes set photos. Looking at these images, it creates hope that the Blu-ray will have an outstanding documentary that delves deep into the film’s practical effects and stunt work.

Lastly, speaking with MTV News, “Fury Road” production designer Colin Gibson revealed the instrument wasn’t a mere prop: It was a functioning guitar that also happened to belch flames.

“George — unfortunately — doesn’t like things that don’t work,” Gibson said. “I have in the past built him props that I thought were just supposed to be props, and then he goes, ‘OK, plug it in now.’ The first version of the guitar which — I think I put too much into the flame thrower, not enough into the reverb. And yes, the flame-throwing guitar did have to operate, did have to play, the PA system did have to work and the drummers … Unfortunately, I did get practice in all positions, and I’ve got to tell you, the drumming was very uncomfortable at 70 [kilometers] an hour, eating sand.”

Sean Hape, aka iOTA, who played the maniacal Doof Warrior strapped to the amps, conceded to Noisey that it “wasn’t a great guitar.”

“It spent a lot of time out in the desert, you wouldn’t want to record with it,” he said. “Most of the time, I’d just try to make noise. I pulled out some AC/DC, some Soundgarden, some Zeppelin, but after eight hours, you do just start thumping on it for a while.”

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