There are few movies from the last decade that are as universally loved as Mad Max: Fury Road. The fourth movie in the franchise, which previously starred Mel Gibson, featured a star-studded cast with Tom Hardy taking over the role of Max and Charlize Theron playing the badass Furiosa. Many of the film's actors along with director George Miller and producer Doug Mitchell recently took part in a The New York Times interview and shared a lot of behind-the-scenes information, including opening up about clashes they had on set. They also revealed some earlier casting possibilities, including Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Endgame, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) and Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Batman & Robin).
"I did a chemistry test with Jeremy Renner reading for Max, because they hadn't hired Tom yet," Zoë Kravitz (Toast) revealed. "There were a number of names thrown out for the female lead back when we first started, [like] Uma Thurman," Mitchell added.
While discussing casting, they also brought up Gibson and the possibility of his return. "Mel is obviously blighted by a number of things that everyone in the world knows about, even though he's a highly gifted filmmaker and a brilliant actor and a lovely guy behind that demon that sometimes pops out. But he was too old at that point. It just didn't make sense," Mitchell explained.
"I had the same feeling about Tom that I had when Mel Gibson first walked into the room: There was a kind of edgy charm, the charisma of animals. You don't know what's going on in their inner depths, and yet they're enormously attractive," Miller added. "I remember we were talking about Charlize even then. Her agent said she wasn't interested, but I mentioned it to her over a decade later, and she said, 'No one ever told me!'"
Hardy and Theron went on to discuss what it was like stepping into an already-established franchise. "In retrospect, I didn't have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson's shoes," Theron explained. "That is frightening! And I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, 'This is scary for you, and it's scary for me, too. Let's be nice to each other.' In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival."
Hardy echoed those comments, while also noting that his age has made him only more interested in reviving the character. "I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways," he admitted. "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."
You can read the full New York Times article here.