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Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult Hit the Road

May 12, 2015

By: Lynn Barker

You might have seen some of the earlier Mad Max films starring Mel Gibson on home video. They are pretty intense and the action can be brutal (Warning: Check with your parents if it’s okay to see this new one).

The new film Mad Max: Fury Road is full of intense chase action. Here’s the haps: Several years after a series of horrible worldwide disasters that destroy nearly everything, Max (Tom Hardy who played villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises), a former highway patrolman, meets Furiosa (Charlize Theron the queen in Snow White and the Huntsman), a woman attempting to cross a huge desert with five other women on the run from tyrannical Joe and his bloodthirsty gang of War Boys.

Max and Furiosa check for dangerMax and Furiosa check for dangerCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Their only hope of reaching safety is Max who has knowledge of the desert's many dangers. When Max is captured by Joe, his only chance of escape depends on Furiosa and her band of liberated women, each of whom is considered a precious object vital to the continued survival of the human race.

Causing chaos is psychopath Nux played by Nicholas Hoult who you might remember as “R” from the fun zombie movie Warm Bodies or as Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men: First Class.

Mistreated Nux looks like a skeletonMistreated Nux looks like a skeletonCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Charlize talks about girl power and “Mad Maxine” the pet dog on set. Tom based some of his Max character on Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and Nick Hoult has a great idea for a cool toy based on all the car action in the film.

Q: Tom, Max in this movie seems more broken than he’s ever been before. Were you reflecting on all he’s been through in the previous three movies (starring Mel Gibson as Mad Max) or is that a new take on the character? And also, do you have sympathy for a villain in a mask the whole movie?

  • Tom Hardy: I do like a mask (he wore one as villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises). Not going to lie. So it was nice to get a new one. I think Max is supposed to be broken in a lot of ways. He kind of wanted to be left alone and then we see him open up throughout the movie and then be broken again and sent into the wasteland. George (Miller the director) wanted him to be broken from the beginning.

Max rescues NuxMax rescues NuxCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:  Tom, you did a lot to make this movie your own after the several films with Mel Gibson as Max. How did you approach creating your version of Max?

  • Tom: Initially, I was daunted because Mad Max is synonymous with Mel Gibson, who is much loved by many people. At the same time, I was really excited to get the job because it was a big fish to land. It was like being the new boy at school, and set up for failure immediately. But having said that, George has created the post-apocalyptic movie 40 years ago, so there wasn’t any real pressure to be a new Max, so to speak. I was inheriting a legacy to transcend the character in my own way. George asked me to come along and portray his Max. So I just did what was asked for me. Behind Fury Road, there is an abundance of material that has yet to reveal itself. I don’t know that I brought anything new, other than I’m just a new actor. I’m just a new boy, and hopefully accepted.

Tom Hardy as MaxTom Hardy as MaxCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Charlize, do you agree that this should be called Mad Maxine because you’re the baddest person on screen? (laughter) And can you talk about what was so irresistible about this awesome adventure?

  • Charlize: I find myself in the last couple of days talking about this movie and realizing more than ever about how fortunate I was to have George trust me in this role. You’re only as good as the opportunities handed your way and Mad Maxine? Tom, what do you think of that?
  • Tom: We actually found a dog, and her name was Maxine. You remember that Pug on the set?
  • Charlize: I do remember the dog. You named her Mad Maxine? That’s awesome! The movie is so bare in its explanation of who (the characters) are. So you find yourself in the midst of the action already. So I found something really powerful about (my character’s) name (Imperator Furiosa). You didn’t even need to know anything about her. You were drawn to her because of the name. So anything that was driving her was already represented by her name. And it’s such a cool name.

Furiosa protects her ownFuriosa protects her ownCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Tell us a little about Furiosa.

  • Charlize: I was very touched by this character.  She’s about the most broken woman that you can imagine. And in many ways, socially, she’s been a disappointment, and has been discarded. And by being discarded, that made her want to show you a real woman. She was stolen as a young child, she was barren, and she ends up fulfilling her destiny, which is being herself.

Furiosa, Nux and girls try to escapeFuriosa, Nux and girls try to escapeCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Did your dance training play a big factor in this? Some of her action almost seems like dance movement.

  • Charlize:  George and I spent a lot of time on that because he is fascinated with that world. But it was a long time since I’d been on stage telling that story with my body. This was another extreme. Dialogue is a crutch. And it’s so easy to have a great writer write you a line. This world is so bare and that language would be a luxury. In the beginning, all of us were like, “Can I get one line here?” And the first couple of weeks, you’re just feeling like you’re doing a lot of this (making faces). But for me, five weeks into shooting, it became a little more second nature, and it became easier. When I watch the movie now, it’s so evident that that was the way to tell it.

Charlize Theron as FuriosaCharlize Theron as FuriosaCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Tom, did you base Mad Max on anyone real?

  • Tom: I actually based on him on Wile E. Coyote and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones. He’s brilliant. When I was a kid, I thought “This is a proper man” when he did Indiana Jones, he had two movements. One was when he was face to face with a man with a sword. And Harrison’s character pulls out a pistol and shoots him because he didn’t want to entertain the fight. And that seemed real to me. The other one was when he was afraid of snakes. So any man with fear is vulnerable. This was a key note with Max. I fall disinterested in characters without fear. That’s no fun. You can’t connect if they’re not human in that sense.

Car hood surfingCar hood surfingCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Charlize, when we see you in a commercial on TV, you look so glamorous. Did you have to be dragged to the chair to get your head shaved for this role? What was that experience like, and do you recommend it?

  • Charlize: I didn’t get dragged to it. As an actor, you’re just trying to fit into the world, and I didn’t know how to fit into this world. We weren’t trying to hide her as a woman, but she really melted into this underworld mechanics place where she was almost forgotten as a woman. I wanted something that could kind of disappear and I didn’t know how to do that with a ponytail. My hair was really fried so I asked George if I should shave my head. He was really quiet, and took a deep breath and I found out yesterday that he was very concerned about the shape of my head and 45 minutes later, it was off, and we sent a selfie to George, and he was awesome.
  • With hair, I was 20 minutes early to everything in my life. It’s amazing how much time we spend on our hair. There was something very freeing about that. It’s nice to think about your femininity, and have it mean more than just your hair. But it’s also so nice to have hair.

Furiosa ready to rollFuriosa ready to rollCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:  This film has a bunch of cool women in it and most action movies don’t. Can you talk about that?

  • Charlize: I don’t get to make a lot of movies with this many women. I was surrounded by women, so that was a breath of fresh air for me. I knew George has an innate understanding of what women represent in society, and he wanted that to be reflected in a post-apocalyptic world in the most truthful way possible. It’s interesting having people tell us we’re strong women, and we’re just women. The truth is that women are powerful enough, and we don’t need to be put on pedestals. What we’re capable of doing is amazing, and is special for a story like this, especially.

Three of Furiosa's girlsThree of Furiosa's girls

Q: For each of you, what was the most daunting stunt that you had to do yourselves.

  • Tom: All of them, actually. I’m not very good with heights, so the scaffolding part was a bit of a mouthful. Especially when we had to do reshoots. In Australia, we set up in a car park. I really didn’t want to go up on the scaffold. The only green screen I saw was on that car park. It was quite lonely up there.
  • Nicolas: It wasn’t until Tom went up on top of it that he told me that he’s afraid of heights. I am too. It looked pretty cool.
  • Charlize: I had a rough time with the scene where Max falls off the hood of the car, and Riley’s character and I have to grab a hold of him. It was on my (character’s) mechanical arm, so I couldn’t use my own body strength to hold Tom up. So I was leaning out of the window, and thought this could be really bad. Of course I was concerned with Tom’s head hitting the ground, but I’d be going with him. I’m hooked to him. I was definitely a bit of a wuss that day for sure.
  • Nicholas: When they harnessed me up, I was tied to that pole, and they tested to see if it was all right and I was comfortable doing it. The stunt double said not to move my head because the tire’s there, and it will take my head right off!

One of the dangerous stunts in the movieOne of the dangerous stunts in the movieCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Yikes! Nick, you went through a transformation to play psychopathic Nuz. How did you prepare for that?

  • Nicholas: George did a great job of preparing me for the role, and explaining what that world would be like. He’d send me videos chronicling my character’s life. At that point, I had a great idea of what the character was like. I just tried to listen to him on set. Quite an extreme atmosphere (African wasteland) that felt so real. It was really easy to get swept up in it.

Nux (Nicholas Hoult) trying to escapeNux (Nicholas Hoult) trying to escapeCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: The car armada scenes were so intense and fascinating. Nick, can you explain what it was like to be part of that?

  • Nicholas: I wasn’t nervous. I was sitting in my hot rod, and saw the signal for everyone to start the engines up. It was the first time on the set where I actually got chills. All the hairs on my body stood up. I thought Whoa, this is intense. Everyone rolled out, and I had flames coming out in my exhaust. The only thing that made it difficult was that you couldn’t hear a lot of the time. You’d see the camera truck come across and not know if we were shooting or not.
  • Charlize: Yeah. We had a lot of “Did we shoot that”?
  • Nicholas: I do have a business idea, if anyone wants to get in touch, it’s Mad Max bobblehead hood ornaments.

The crazy car armadaThe crazy car armadaCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: I’d so buy one!

Mad Max: Fury Road PosterMad Max: Fury Road PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Mad Max: Fury Road is in theaters May 15th!

** Warning Trailer contains violence**