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Friday, June 21, 2024

George Miller Talks ‘Furiosa’ & Why Mad Max’ Movies Are “Addictive”

Australian filmmaker George Miller, whose origins story Furiosa will world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month before Warner Bros begins its global rollout May 22, says he’s still making Mad Max movies “because they’re very addictive.”

Miller was speaking at CinemaCon on Monday in Las Vegas where he received the International Career Achievement in Filmmaking Award. During a discussion with Warner Bros President of International Theatrical Distribution Andrew Cripps, Miller looked back at his path from medical doctor to director and delved into some of the history of the 1979 classic Mad Max, as well as sharing some insights into the upcoming Furiosa

Miller, who was “always interested in cinema,” originally trained as a doctor and kept practicing even after he made Mad Max “because even though it was successful, I didn’t think I had it in me to be a filmmaker.” Eventually however, “I kept going.”

The impetus for the original Mad Max was sparked when he was a junior doctor and met a policeman who had attended his own son’s fatal accident. “It really stuck with me and one thing led to another and we ended up writing a film.”

The idea was to make a movie “that relies entirely on visual language.” 

It was not, however, originally conceived as set in an apocalyptic world. But when Miller found it was “almost impossible to do action sequences in the streets of Melbourne in the city in the modern day … the idea was to set it in a dystopian future simply because we could play in empty streets — and that was a really lucky thing because accidentally the film, which otherwise would have been present-day naturalistic, turned out to be more allegoric, unwittingly, and that’s what led to Mad Max and that’s why I’m still doing them, because they’re very addictive.” 

Miller, whose credits also include such Oscar-winning films as Happy Feet and Babe, said he hatched the idea for Furiosa while prepping 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which went on to be a global hit and win six Oscars. 

He explained, “In order to tell the story of Fury Road … we had to understand everything about what we see on the screen. Not only the backstory of every character, but every prop, every vehicle. … It wasn’t a bible — we wrote the story of Furiosa in the 15 or 16 years of her life before we meet her in Fury Road, we wrote a story about Max in the year before he got there and so on. They ended up being a screenplay and one was a novella. We did it just for the actors and the crew so they could understand it. So when Fury Road worked, I thought, ‘This is a rich story to tell.’ It’s different — you don’t want a film to be a repetition of what you’ve just done, it has to be uniquely familiar, as I like to say, and that led to Furiosa.”

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular character first played by Charlize Theron in Fury Road. Miller said he’d seen Taylor-Joy in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. “There’s something about her … something mystical but accessible. I learned that she was somebody very, very disciplined,” and also had been a ballet dancer, as was Theron. Having also worked on Happy Feet with dancers, Miller said he “understood the emotional discipline as well as the physical discipline they had, so all of that led to Anya being Furiosa.”

For the role of Dr. Dementus, Miller said he’d “never thought of Chris [Hemsworth] until we met and we talked. I realized he was somebody who has a lot more dimensions to him than I had initially thought. I think for me he is, as they say in Australia, the complete article.”

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HomeReviews FilmsGeorge Miller Talks ‘Furiosa’ & Why Mad Max’ Movies Are "Addictive"

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