Mad Max: Fury Road was a journey defining love and hate for the film’s leads, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy. The actors, although experienced in their own right, had much to learn on the sets of the Oscar-winning revival of the George Miller franchise. And Hollywood is not exactly renowned for its calm and collected personalities. The Max-Furiosa duo had to traverse a path that felt eerily similar to their on-screen journey as revealed by the entire crew of the 2015 film.
Charlize Theron & Tom Hardy Clash on the Set of Fury Road
When the Australian director, George Miller began his journey with the extremely limited-budget film, Mad Max in the ’80s, the product was a vision realized in all its unrefined chaotic glory. The film series then understandably culminated in the production of the 2015 masterpiece, Mad Max: Fury Road. But this time, with more cinematic beauty and a method actor in the mix.
Tom Hardy‘s renowned performances stem from his unpredictability and a display of brash characterization. That trait didn’t prove too helpful for the crew of Fury Road when it clashed with the modest and composed temperament of Charlize Theron. The Furiosa actress has been defined by screenwriter Kelly Marcel as “cerebral and very consistent” in contrast to Hardy’s “physical and all over the place” approach to acting.
And even though the clash in their personalities really brought out the animosity between the characters in the film, the tension seemed to seep out of the screens and into the lives of the actors and their co-stars on the set of the apocalyptic dystopian movie.
The Reel to Real Love-Hate Arc Between Max and Furiosa
The rage that was visibly present between the two leads before their much-needed survival-fueled team-up was a product of the exceedingly inciting attitude of Tom Hardy toward Charlize Theron. So much so, in fact, that the atmosphere on set felt like one syllable away from implosion. Nicholas Hoult claims, “It was kind of like you’re on your summer holidays and the adults in the front of the car are arguing,” to which Theron added:
“He’s right, it was like two parents in the front of the car. We were either fighting or we were icing each other—I don’t know which one is worse—and they had to deal with it in the back. It was horrible! We should not have done that; we should have been better. I can own up to that.”
The animosity got to the point where the two actors charged at each other on set after Hardy managed to turn up 3 hours late to the set. Miller claims, “The story is all about self-preservation: If it’s an advantage to you to kill another character, then you should do it and you don’t think twice about it. I think that crept into the actors.” But according to Marcel, “Family was made there, and family loves and hates each other.”
This theory indeed turned out to be true when the story shifted to Max and Furiosa working together to evade the Vuvalini and the Wives, and the actors seemed to actually get along for the first time on screen and off. Mark Goellnicht reveals:
“That scene was probably the biggest change in seeing Tom really soften to Charlize in real life… [Charlize Theron] was quite taken aback by it, too. But it was great because that’s when you can see that Max and Furiosa really are a team…
You really felt this change in their mood. Just the way that they were talking to each other when they were off camera… They were really civil and nice. He was a different person by the end—a lot easier to deal with, a lot more cooperative, more compassionate. He’s such a Method actor that I think he took the arc in the literal sense.”
Although the director feels much disappointment in his approach to a lot of the things on the set of his films, in the end, it did turn out incredibly sensational. Theron and Hardy, looking back on their experience, now claim to have outgrown their unwarranted behavior in the face of overwhelming pressure.
Source: Vanity Fair