With the Oscars approaching and Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller still a distinct dark horse possibility to win over frontrunner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant), the time is right to jump in the YouTube way-back machine.
This fascinating 1985 interview, conducted seemingly on a press junket day for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, features a buoyantly youthful Mel Gibson answering an Eyes on Cinema journalist’s questions along with Miller, who looks elegant in a pink bow tie and Louis XIV hairdo.
Of working with Miller on the set, Gibson says, “One day I though he was being really cruel. I thought, ‘How could he be so callous.’ Its not callousness. It’s just that his mind is so directed that you could drive nails through his feet and he would not feel it.” This almost exactly echoes a statement that the new Max, Tom Hardy, made about his director in May of last year.
Keeping up the religious allegorizing, the interviewer asks Gibson about the messianic overtones of the Mad Max character. “It’s a mythological hero type, and that’s kind of linked in a way to beliefs, or religious I suppose.” He adds, “It’s no substitute,” subtly tipping the strong beliefs that two decades later would lead to him directing the most successful religious film of all time, The Passion of the Christ.
In the 8-minute video’s best quip, Miller is talking about the godly power inherent in directing a post-apocalyptic epic. And Gibson, quietly whispers an all-too-great nickname for his filmmaker friend: “Cecil B. DeMiller.”