It’s been three decades since Tina Turner declared that we don’t need another hero in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the 1985 epic in which Mel Gibson played chicken with high-speed vehicles. Now Max is back in the bleak dystopia of Mad Max: Fury Road, a reboot starring Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) in the battle-worn leather. ”Max has been through an awful lot,” Hardy explains.
Writer-director George Miller, the creative force behind the first three Mad Max films, shot most of Fury Road in sequence as his characters thunder across the Australian wasteland. They’re trying to escape an evil warlord named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played the sinister Toecutter in the first film).
The cast and crew endured a grueling 116-day shoot in the deserts of Namibia without the benefit of a detailed script (Miller relied mainly on storyboards). Plus, Charlize Theron had to shave off her blond locks to play Imperator Furiosa, who’s on the run from Immortan Joe. Throughout, the stars learned to rely on Miller for guidance. ”I had the longest preproduction rehearsal with a director — talking about what it was all supposed to be — that I’ve ever had in my entire career,” says Theron. ”Everything about it was so specific, but very bare.”