When “Mad Max Fury Road” was released back in 2015, its two stars, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, admitted that they were at each other’s throats during filming. Now, new details are surfacing in a new book about just how ugly it got between the two of them.
New York Times pop culture reporter Kyle Buchanan spoke with over 100 cast and crew members who worked on George Miller’s Oscar-winning blockbuster to write the new oral history book “Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road.” In the film, Theron plays Imperator Furiosa, a post-apocalyptic warrior who betrays her tyrannical leader Immortan Joe to save the young women he keeps as breeders.
But her escape plan takes an unexpected turn when she encounters Max Rockatansky (Hardy), forcing them to work together despite their initial distrust to escape Immortan Joe’s clutches.
In interviews, Theron and Hardy said that life imitated art as they had a great deal of animosity towards each other during the early stages of filming. But in a new excerpt of “Blood, Sweat & Chrome” published by Vanity Fair, crew members revealed that it got so bad that Theron asked one of the producers to be with her at all times as protection against Hardy.
Early in the film, when Max and Furiosa meet for the first time and promptly get in a fistfight over control of Furiosa’s War Rig, Hardy and Theron did not speak to each other through the entire shooting of the scene.
“Tom would want justification for every bit of choreography, not just in the actual action but in the pre-setup of the action and everything else,” said cast member Richard Norton. “Charlize, her basic want is simple: I just want to f—ing kill him. Let’s shoot it.”
“We get dailies sometimes for specific sequences if we need to cut a shot longer, and some of that was the chain-wrench fight by the tanker,” said editor J. Houston Yang. “And boy f—ing howdy, was it clear that those two people hated each other. They didn’t want to touch each other, they didn’t want to look at each other, they wouldn’t face each other if the camera wasn’t actively rolling.”
Theron herself recalls in the book the moment that her feud with Hardy hit its boiling point. The actress, who had just given birth to her first child at the time, was focused on keeping shoots on schedule so she could devote time to parenting.
Hardy, on the other hand, was constantly late to the set, and when he showed up one day three hours after Theron and the rest of the crew, his co-star had enough.
“She jumps out of the War Rig, and she starts swearing her head off at him, saying, ‘Fine the f—ing c— a hundred thousand dollars for every minute that he’s held up this crew,'” recalled camera operator Mark Goellnicht. “She was right. Full rant. She screams it out. It’s so loud, it’s so windy—he might’ve heard some of it, but he charged up to her up and went, ‘What did you say to me?'”
“It got to a place where it was kind of out of hand, and there was a sense that maybe sending a woman producer down could maybe equalize some of it, because I didn’t feel safe,” added Theron.
Both Theron and Hardy, as well as George Miller, expressed regret that they allowed the situation to get as out of hand as it did.
“There are things that I feel disappointment with about the process. Looking back, if I had to do it again, I would probably be more mindful,” Miller said.
“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,” Hardy said.