George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the most successful action films in decades, some of the biggest reasons being its incredible cast. In particular, the two leads Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy. As it turns out, however, Charlize Theron was actually “scared shitless” of Tom Hardy during the production.
This was revealed via Vanity Fair, where they shared an except from Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road. The aforementioned title is an upcoming oral history of the beloved action film, and reveals all sorts of exciting tidbits regarding the film. As it just so happens, this includes the issues between Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy.
As noted by actor Nicholas Hoult:
“It was a tense atmosphere at times. It was kind of like you’re on your summer holidays and the adults in the front of the car are arguing.”
Charlize Theron continued this by adding:
“He’s right, it was like two parents in the front of the car,” Theron began. “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.”
She further continued:
“I don’t want to make excuses for bad behavior, but it was a tough shoot,” said Theron. “Now, I have a very clear perspective on what went down. I don’t think I had that clarity when we were making the movie. I was in survival mode; I was really scared shitless.”
It seems that the two nearly got involved in physical violence with one another as well.
“I don’t want to rehash things, but it came out of a really bad moment where things kind of came to blows between me and Tom.”
This story was further detailed by camera operator Mark Goellnicht:
“He was notorious for never being on time in the morning,” recalled Goellnicht. “If the call time was in the morning, forget it—he didn’t show up.”
He then specified:
“Gets to nine o’clock, still no Tom. ‘Charlize, do you want to get out of the War Rig and walk around, or do you want to . . .’ ‘No, I’m going to stay here.’ She was really going to make a point. She didn’t go to the bathroom, didn’t do anything. She just sat in the War Rig.”
Mark Goellnicht then explained that Charlize Theron shouted that the production “dine the fucking cunt a hundred thousand dollars for every minute that he’s held up this crew” and further called Tom Hardy disrespectful.
“She was right,” he asserted. “Full rant. She screams it out.”
Goellnicht then detailed:
“It’s so loud, it’s so windy—[Hardy] might’ve heard some of it, but he charged up to her up and went, ‘What did you say to me?’”
“He was quite aggressive,” he claimed. “She really felt threatened, and that was the turning point, because then she said, ‘I want someone as protection.’ She then had a producer that was assigned to be with her all the time.”
Charlize then added:
“It got to a place where it was kind of out of hand, and there was a sense that maybe sending a woman producer down could maybe equalize some of it, because I didn’t feel safe.”
“I kind of put my foot down,” said the actress.
She continued, referencing the film’s director:
“”>George Miller then said, ‘Okay, well, if [producer Denise Di Novi] comes…” He was open to it and that kind of made me breathe a little bit, because it felt like I would have another woman understanding what I was up against.”
Charlize Theron further discussed what could’ve been done differently:
“Looking back on where we are in the world now, given what happened between me and Tom, it would have been smart for us to bring a female producer in,” Theron elaborated. ” You understand the needs of a director who wants to protect his set, but when push comes to shove and things get out of hand, you have to be able to think about that in a bigger sense.”
She added, “That’s where we could have done better, if George trusted that nobody was going to come and fuck with his vision but was just going to come and help mediate situations. I think he didn’t want any interference, and there were several weeks on that movie where I wouldn’t know what was going to come my way, and that’s not necessarily a nice thing to feel when you’re on your job. It was a little bit like walking on thin ice.”
Director George Miller also added his regrets about how things went.
“There are things that I feel disappointment with about the process,” replied Miller. “Looking back, if I had to do it again, I would probably be more mindful.”
Tom Hardy also added:
“In hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways.”
“The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times,” he concluded. “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.”
Interestingly, Mark Goellnicht explained that the two began to warm up to one another when they shot the scene with the two on their bike and the Vuvalini and Wives behind them.
“The day we shot that, I got such goose bumps,” he told Buchannan. “You really felt this change in their mood. Just the way that they were talking to each other when they were off camera, I went, What the fuck? Who gave them molly? 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.”
It certainly is an interesting story, and it shows just how much effort went into the production of Mad Max: Fury Road. With the way the Warner Bros film turned out, however, it clearly seems that everything worked out for the best.