Insane ‘Fury Road’ Footage Debuts, Destroys
Fans & San Diego Comic-Con 2014
"My name is Max. My world is fire and blood. FIRE - BLOOD - OIL! BLOOD, OIL & GASOLINE". "UNREAL. Dirty, grimy, mean, WEIRD". "fire + metal + and death + craziness"
"It's a western in cars"
Baja Racing News LIVE! Reports on Desert Racing's contribution to media mayhem, Fury Road.
It’s been a long, hard road to get to the long, hard road of “Mad Max: Fury Road” — but we’re almost there.
At San Diego Comic-Con, director George Miller and Warner Bros. brought the new “Mad Max” movie to fans, with some concept art and new footage that pulled the curtain back a bit on a film that’s essentially just one gigantic chase sequence.
“The story popped in my head and just wouldn’t get away, like an imaginary friend,” Miller said. “I love chase movies; I think they’re the purest form of cinema. That’s where the film language started. I wanted to make one long, extended chase, and see what we could pick up about the characters along the way.”
The “extended chase sequence” is on full display in the footage that Miller brought to Comic-Con. It begins with a long-haired Tom Hardy as Max, stomping on a lizard, then eating it. He hops in his muscle car and drives off into the barren desert — and before long, he’s captured by monstrous looking thugs, who take him to their lair, shave his hair off, tattoo him and chain him up — complete with a muzzle that looks almost Bane-esque. Except some “Fury Road”/”Dark Knight Rises” mash-ups come 2015.
The action picks up when Charlize Theron’s Furiosa and her band attack Max’s captors, instigating an insanely kinetic chase sequence with roaring muscle cars, exploding trucks, electric dust storms, flying bodies, and entirely unrecognizable and crazy performance from Nicolas Hoult.
At one point, muzzled Max, chained to the back of Hoult’s car, watches in awe as trucks and cars get swirled up into a flaming dust storm, exploding and sending bodies flying every which way. The shot is unflinching, the violence unforgiving; the scene seems to be on the edge of ending at every turn, but it just keeps going, getting more and more brutal and loud, until Hoult finally cuts the tension:
“What a lovely day,” he shouts. “What a lovely day!”
It’s just a taste of the non-stop action that Miller has in mind for “Fury Road.” He said that it was a “crazy but interesting” experience to go back to the world of “Mad Max,” but casting his three leads made the job much easier.
“People often say that 75% of your job is done as a director in the casting,” he said. “I was waiting for someone like Tom Hardy to come along; he has all the qualities. And Charlize, when you get to see the movie, there are certain dimensions of Charlize that fit the character of Furiosa. And the same, in many ways, with Nick Hoult.”
Miller said that he didn’t want to make “Fury Road” in a conventional way; as such, rather than writing a script, he first teamed up with co-writer and artist Brendan McCarthy to storyboard the entire film “as one long comic book; it was 3,500 panels. There’s not many words spoken in the movie. People only speak when they have to. I wanted to tell the story as best as possible in pictures.”
Even with new actors and new technology, Miller said that “Fury Road” calls back to the themes and tone prevalent throughout “Mad Max,” especially “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.”
“There’s no rule of law. There’s no honor,” he said. “People are just surviving. It’s like a Western: a very spare and clear movie. You can get away from all the clever.”
1. “Of course [Tom Hardy's performance] is based on the same character Mel [Gibson] played: the lone warrior in the wasteland, basically disengaged from the rest of the world. Naturally Tom brings his Tom Hardiness to it. The character is different, to some degree, because the story is different. Yes, it’s different, but no, he’s essentially grown out of the same material.”
2. “It’s a very compelling world to work with, because it’s allegorical. I think Westerns were basically what cinema grew up on, from the silent era on, because they were accessible elemental stories. That’s the attraction of working in this post-apocalyptic Mad Max world. Getting back into the world, it felt familiar in many ways, but also very, very strange. So much has changed. The technology has changed. We shot with digital cameras. You can do a lot more. You can now put cameras anywhere. I was able to get cameras where I never would’ve been able to with the first Mad Max.”
3. “We had a lot of the actors do their own stunts. When you see the movie, you’ll see them doing the actual stunts. We probably would’ve been criminal to do that in the old days, but now we can keep them safe with harnesses.”
4. “We are sort of doomed to repeat the whole history. We do change with information and so on, but…The Road Warrior was basically based on oil wars. Back in the early 1970s people essentially went to war over oil, and since then we’ve practically been fighting oil wars ever since. Now, in some places in the world, there are water wars, even in my own country. Well, there’s no war, but there’s a huge dispute over water and a financial crisis.”
5. “I didn’t want to tell the film with a lot of dialogue. It’s a world where people say very little. We basically have one extended chase where you discover the backstory of the characters along the way. A post-apocalyptic world allows you to make it very, very element. I like to call it a Western on wheels.”
6. “The movie is a chase. It’s very hard when people are chasing across the wasteland to write that in words; it’s much easier to do that in pictures. Because it’s almost a continued chase, you have to connect one shot to the other. The obvious way to do that was with storyboards [which is what they did first], then put words in later. I worked with three really fine storyboard artists and graphic novelists. We sat in a big room and instead of writing it down, we’d say, ‘So this guy throws a thunderstick at a car and there’s an explosion.’ You can write that, but exactly where the thunderstick is, where the car is, and the explosion, it’s very hard to get those dimensions, so we would draw it. We ended up with 3,500 panels, which almost becomes the equivelant to the number of shots in the movie.”
7. “Animation is much more thoughtful. Shooting movies is much like a sport. Making an animation is much more like writing about a sport. In the middle of a football game, I imagine you don’t have much time to think, so, like film, you’re just going out and shooting it. There’s also an exhilaration to it: it’s tough and, logistically, a bit of a military exercise. It’s tough, especially in the middle of a desert in the west coast of Africa. It’s pretty spare out there. We wanted to do this movie old school. It’s not a big CG movie. There’s CG in it, but, as I said, every stunt you see is real involving real people, often involving members of the real cast. That was a big logistical exercise, which brings with it a certain amount of anxiety.”
8. “It’s not super-reality, but it’s close to an imagined reality. They don’t have super powers. They can’t do anything against the laws of physics. Everything has to have a rigorous logic when you’re creating the world for people to believe it. When people get hurt, they get hurt. Charlize Theron’s character, Furiosa, has a mechanical arm. It’s more 19th century technology. She’s not a cyborg. Going back to WWI and pre-WWI photographs you see people with doozy mechanical arms and so on.”
9. “I didn’t want to do another Mad Max movie, because I had done three and I do have a lot of stories I want to tell. The story came to me over 12 years ago. I kept on pushing it away, but I find those stories that keep playing in your mind to be the ones you should pay attention to. I made a deal with myself if I could have the visuals come first and do it this way — with storyboards, not writing a screenplay — then I’d do it.”
10. “This is long history, but in the earlier part of the decade Mel Gibson was cast in the movie. We were about to shoot, but then 9/11 happened. That caused a whole lot of issues, not the least of which the decline of the American dollar. We lost a significant amount of our budget. At the same time, we had to move on Happy Feet, which took four years. By the time we came off that… it wasn’t the story of an old Mad Max, it’s a story about a younger Mad Max. I had to find a new Mad Max. Luckily, Tom Hardy came along.”
Special Thanks for use of the 'McNeil SPECIAL' we used in San Diego for Comic-Con Promotional Conferences and site selection work.
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