Not on the same page. While reflecting on the difficult experience filming 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy got honest about the tumultuous turn that their working relationship took along the way.
In an excerpt from Kyle Buchanan’s Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, published by Vanity Fair on Tuesday, February 22, cast and crew addressed a moment that shook up the set.
“It was like two parents in the front of the car. 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!” Theron, 46, who played Imperator Furiosa, explained in the book. “We should not have done that; we should have been better. I can own up to that.”
According to camera operator Mark Goellnicht, an alleged argument ensued between the two leads when the Atomic Blonde actress confronted Hardy, 44, for showing up to set three hours late.
“She was right. Full rant. She screams it out. It’s so loud, it’s so windy — he might’ve heard some of it, but he charged up to her and went, ‘What did you say to me?’” Goellnicht claimed. “He was quite aggressive. She really felt threatened, and that was the turning point.”
The South Africa native noted that she asked Fury Road producer Denise Di Novi to help prevent any further issues that day, saying, “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.”
Theron explained that director George Miller supported her request after hearing the concerns, adding, “I kind of put my foot down. George then said, ‘Okay, well, if Denise 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.”
Hardy, for his part, stated that he was “in over my head in many ways” when he looked back at his time on the project.
“The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times. What she needed was a better, perhaps more experienced partner in me,” the Venom star, who played Max Rockatansky in the critically acclaimed film, recalled. “I’d like to think that now that I’m older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion.”
The twosome previously addressed the issues that came from them struggling with the vision for the Mad Max reboot.
“The biggest thing that was driving that entire production was fear. I was incredibly scared, because I’d never done anything like it. I think the hardest thing between me and George is that he had the movie in his head and I was so desperate to understand it,” Theron told The New York Times in May 2020, during a joint interview with Hardy and Zoë Kravitz.
The Bombshell star expressed wanting to mentor her other cast members as a way to deal with the ups and downs of filming. The U.K. native, however, chose to trust that the film would come together in the end.
“Because of how much detail we were having to process and how little control one had in each new situation, and how fast the takes were — tiny snippets of story moments were needed to make the final cut work — we moved fast, and it was at times overwhelming,” Hardy shared in 2020.
Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road by Kyle Buchanan hit shelves Tuesday and is available for purchase anywhere books are sold.