Mad Max: Fury Road

About Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road Film

Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2015 Australian post-apocalyptic action film co-written, co-produced, and directed by George Miller. Miller collaborated with Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris on the screenplay. The fourth instalment in the Mad Max franchise, it was produced by Village Roadshow Pictures, Kennedy Miller Mitchell, and RatPac-Dune Entertainment and distributed by Roadshow Entertainment in Australia and by Warner Bros. Pictures internationally. The film stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, with Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton in supporting roles. Set in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland where petrol and water are scarce commodities, Fury Road follows Max Rockatansky, who joins forces with Imperator Furiosa against cult leader Immortan Joe and his army, leading to a lengthy road battle.

Miller came up with the idea for Fury Road in 1987, but the film spent many years in development hell before pre-production began in 1998. Attempts to shoot the film in the 2000s were delayed numerous times due to the September 11 attacks, the Iraq War, and controversies surrounding star Mel Gibson, leading Miller to recast Gibson’s role of Max Rockatansky. Miller decided to pursue the film again in 2007, after the release of his animated comedy film Happy Feet. In 2009, Miller announced that filming would begin in early 2011. Hardy was cast as Max in June 2010, with production planned to begin that November. Principal photography was delayed several more times before it actually began in July 2012. The film wrapped in December 2012, although additional footage was shot in November 2013.

Fury Road premiered in Los Angeles on 7 May 2015, and was released in Australia on 14 May. It grossed $380.4 million at the worldwide box office, making it the highest-grossing Mad Max film, but is estimated to have incurred overall losses of $20–40 million when all of the advertising and other costs are added to its $154.6–185.1 million production budget. The film was praised by critics for its direction, writing, action sequences, musical score, technical aspects, and performances (particularly those of Hardy and Theron). It won Best Film from the National Board of Review, and was also named one of the top ten films of 2015 by the American Film Institute. The film was nominated for ten awards at the 88th Academy Awards, winning six, and received numerous other accolades. Retrospectively, the film has been called one of the greatest action films of all time and one of the best films of the 2010s.

Following a pay dispute between Warner Bros. and Miller that delayed early efforts to produce follow-up projects, a prequel, Furiosa, is set for release on 24 May 2024, with Miller returning as writer and director.

Mad Max: Fury Road Film


Max Rockatansky, a survivor haunted by memories of all the people he failed to protect, is captured and taken to warlord Immortan Joe’s Citadel. There, Max is imprisoned and used as a “blood bag” for Nux, a sick War Boy. Meanwhile, Imperator Furiosa, one of Joe’s lieutenants, is sent in the armoured “War Rig” to trade produce for petrol and ammunition with two of Joe’s allies, the Bullet Farmer and the People Eater. When Joe realises his five wives are fleeing in the Rig, he leads his army in pursuit of Furiosa, calling on the aid of Gas Town and the Bullet Farm.

Nux joins the pursuit with Max strapped to his car, and a chasing battle ensues. Furiosa drives into a sand storm and loses all of her pursuers, except Nux, who attempts to sacrifice himself to blow up the Rig. Max frees himself and restrains Nux, and Furiosa destroys their car.

After the sandstorm, Max finds Furiosa repairing the Rig, accompanied by Joe’s wives: Toast, Capable, the Dag, Cheedo, and Angharad, the last of whom is heavily pregnant with Joe’s child. Max tries to steal the Rig, but he does not know the code to bypass the kill switches, so he begrudgingly joins up with Furiosa and the wives. Nux boards the Rig as it leaves and attempts to kill Furiosa. He is overpowered and thrown out, and Joe’s army picks him up when they pass by.

Furiosa drives through a canyon controlled by a biker gang, having arranged to trade fuel for her safe passage, but the gang turns on her when they spot an army approaching, forcing her to flee. The bikers detonate the canyon walls to block Joe and then pursue the Rig as Max and Furiosa fend them off. Joe drives over the blockade in a monster truck and catches up with the Rig, allowing Nux to board and attack Furiosa again, but he trips before reaching the cab. While helping Max, Angharad falls off the Rig and is fatally run over by Joe, who temporarily halts his pursuit.

Capable finds Nux hiding in the Rig and consoles him as he laments his failure. After dark, Furiosa and Max slow Joe’s forces with mines set in swampland, but Joe’s ally, the Bullet Farmer, continues the pursuit. The Rig gets stuck in the mud and Nux emerges from hiding to help free it, joining the crew. Furiosa blinds the approaching Bullet Farmer, and Max confronts him and returns with guns and ammunition.

In the morning, Furiosa explains to Max that the “Green Place” to which they are escaping is an idyllic land she remembers from her childhood. She recognises a familiar landmark and shouts out her history and clan affiliation to a woman on top. The woman summons her all-female clan, the Vuvalini, who recognise Furiosa as one of their own who was kidnapped as a child. Furiosa is devastated to learn that the swampland from the previous night was the Green Place, which is now uninhabitable, and there are only seven Vuvalini left. The group begins to ride across an immense salt flat, hoping to find a new home, but Max leaves.

After seeing a vision of a child he failed to save, Max catches up and convinces the others to return the way they came since there is nothing in the salt flat, suggesting instead that they return and take the undefended Citadel, which has ample water and crops. They meet Joe’s forces and engage in battle. Five Vuvalini are killed, and Toast is captured.

As they approach the canyon, Joe gets in front of the Rig to slow it. While Max fights Joe’s large adult son, Rictus Erectus, Furiosa, though seriously wounded, goes to save Toast and the two join forces, enabling Furiosa to kill Joe. The surviving brides and Vuvalini cross over to Joe’s vehicle, and Nux sacrifices himself by wrecking the Rig to block the canyon, killing Rictus. Max transfuses his blood to Furiosa, saving her life.

Back at the Citadel, the people rejoice upon learning of Joe’s death and tear his corpse to pieces. As Max’s companions are lifted in triumph to Joe’s cliffside fortress, Max exchanges a glance with Furiosa before disappearing into the crowd.


  • Tom Hardy as “Mad Max” Rockatansky
  • Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa
  • Nicholas Hoult as Nux
  • Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe
  • Josh Helman as Slit, Nux’s lancer
  • Nathan Jones as Rictus Erectus, Joe’s large, muscular, low IQ son
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad, Joe’s most “treasured” breeder. Pregnant with his child, she is shown to be strong yet compassionate and protective, and as the de facto leader of the other wives.
  • Zoë Kravitz as Toast the Knowing, another of Joe’s wives, she is the most practical and intellectual of the five, and is shown to have good knowledge of guns.
  • Riley Keough as Capable, another of Joe’s wives, she appears to be the most level-headed and mature of the five, and forms a bond with the War Boy Nux.
  • Abbey Lee as The Dag, another of Joe’s wives, she has an eccentric and bold personality. She is shown to form a bond with the Keeper of Seeds.
  • Courtney Eaton as Cheedo the Fragile, another of Joe’s wives. She is portrayed as the meekest and most timid, but grows to be more courageous and intuitive, she was initially unwilling to leave Joe.
  • John Howard as The People Eater, who rules Gas Town
  • Richard Carter as The Bullet Farmer, who rules the Bullet Farm
  • iOTA as The Doof Warrior (Coma), the guitarist who travels with Joe’s war convoy
  • Angus Sampson as The Organic Mechanic, a doctor who works for Joe
  • Jennifer Hagan as Miss Giddy, the caretaker of Joe’s wives
  • Megan Gale as The Valkyrie, the youngest of the Vuvalini
  • Melissa Jaffer as Keeper of the Seeds, one of the Vuvalini
  • Melita Jurisic, Gillian Jones, Joy Smithers, Antoinette Kellerman, and Christina Koch as The Vuvalini
  • Jon Iles as The Ace, head of security on the War Rig
  • Quentin Kenihan as Corpus Colossus, Joe’s son, who has a physical disability (likely osteogenesis imperfecta, which Kenihan had) that stunted his growth and prevents him from being able to walk
  • Coco Jack Gillies as Glory the Child, the young girl in Max’s flashbacks
  • Chris Patton as Morsov
  • Stephen Dunlevy as The Rock Rider Chief and The Winchman
  • Richard Norton as The Prime Imperator


Mad Max: Fury Road had a lengthy gestation period. In 1987, George Miller had the idea of making a Mad Max instalment that was “almost a continuous chase”. He got an idea for the plot in 1998 when he was walking across a street in Los Angeles, and about a year later, while travelling from Los Angeles to Australia, a story in which “violent marauders were fighting, not for oil or for material goods, but for human beings” coalesced. Miller said he worked with five storyboard artists to design the film in storyboard form before writing the screenplay, producing about 3,500 panels, which is almost the same as the number of shots as in the finished film, as he wanted the film to be almost a continuous chase, with relatively little dialogue, and to have the visuals come first. The screenplay was written with Nico Lathouris and cult British comic creator Brendan McCarthy, who also designed many of the new characters and vehicles.

The film entered pre-production at 20th Century Fox in the early 2000s and was set to star Mel Gibson, who had portrayed Max Rockatansky in the first three films in the series, with Sigourney Weaver contemplated for the female co-lead which would later become Imperator Furiosa, suggested by Gibson himself after they had worked together in Peter Weir’s The Year of Living Dangerously, and Miller agreed on the idea. However, production was indefinitely postponed after the September 11 attacks in 2001 caused “the American dollar [to collapse] against the Australian dollar, and our budget ballooned”, as Miller has said in several interviews since the film was released in 2015, or due to security concerns and tightened travel and shipping restrictions during the lead up to the Iraq War caused issues with the proposed Namibian shoot, as had been reported previously. In either event, Miller said he then “had to commit to Happy Feet because we had the digital facility booked to do it”, and by the time he got back to work on the Mad Max project four years later, Gibson “had all that turbulence in his life.” Both Miller and Gibson himself said the passage of time had made Gibson’s age a factor, since the film “wasn’t about an old road warrior.”

In 2006, Miller said he was thinking about making Fury Road without Gibson. He confirmed his intention to make another Mad Max film in 2007 and stated that he thought Gibson was focused on his own films and was also “too old” to play the part. On 5 March 2009, it was announced that an R-rated animated feature film inspired by Japanese anime, but adapted for Western audiences, was in pre-production that would be taking much of the plot from Fury Road and would not feature Gibson’s voice. Miller was also developing an action-adventure tie-in video game based on the fourth film with God of War II designer Cory Barlog. Both projects were expected to take two to two-and-a-half years and, according to Miller, would be released in 2011 or 2012. The animated Fury Road was going to be produced by Dr D Studios, a digital art studio founded in 2008 by Miller and Doug Mitchell.

On 18 May 2009, it was reported that location scouting was underway for Fury Road, which “could go into production later this year”. Miller had decided to shoot a live-action film after all, and “already had the various vehicles built for years now – as they were built for the doomed Fury Road shoot”. By this time, the project had moved from Fox to Warner Bros. In October, Miller announced that principal photography on Fury Road would commence at Broken Hill, New South Wales in August 2010. That same month, British actor Tom Hardy was in negotiations to take the lead role of Max, and it was also announced that Charlize Theron would play a major role. The finalists for the part of Max were Hardy, Armie Hammer, and Jeremy Renner, with Michael Fassbender, Joel Kinnaman, Heath Ledger, Eric Bana, and even Eminem (who did not wish to leave the United States) all having been considered at various stages of the film’s extended development. Hardy announced he had been cast on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross in June 2010.

In July 2010, Miller announced plans to shoot two Mad Max films back-to-back, entitled Mad Max: Fury Road and Mad Max: Furiosa. Weta Digital was involved with the film when it was scheduled for a 2012 release. The company was to handle visual effects, conceptual designs, speciality make-up effects, and costume designs until production was postponed from its November 2010 start date. After unexpected heavy rains caused wildflowers to grow in the desert around Broken Hill, filming was moved from Broken Hill back to Namibia in November 2011. Other potential locations scouted included the Atacama Desert in Chile, Chott el Djerid in Tunisia, and Azerbaijan.

Miller said he did not feel he had to top the production design of the previous films in the series. Instead, he wanted the design to harken back to the earlier films and reflect the changes of the past 30 years. Colin Gibson, the production designer, said the filmmakers developed an internally consistent history to explain the film’s look and justify its use of hot rods. He designed the vehicles in the film, some of which were constructed as early as 2003, and all of which were fully functional. Of the 150 vehicles constructed, only 88 survived to the end of filming, with the others built to facilitate their intended method of destruction. The War Rig, the film’s most prominent vehicle, was made by combining a Tatra 815 and Chevrolet Fleetmaster and fusing a Volkswagen Beetle to the hull, among other modifications. The cars were designed with an emphasis on detail and characterisation, and effort was made to show the various characters’ attempts to recycle the remains of civilisation and their feelings of guilt and loss.


May 14, 2015

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