Mad Max: Fury Road(2015)
- RatedNC16 /GenreAction, Adventure, Thriller
Playing intense characters has been a hallmark for actor Tom Hardy.
The 37-year-old English actor has earned widespread acclaim for his powerful performances in film such as ‘Warrior’, ‘Bronson’ (2008), The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012) and ‘Locke’ (2013), where he shined playing tortured characters.
It is small wonder that Hardy has landed the role of his career, one that sees him stepping into the shoes of a character made famous by Mel Gibson in George Miller's 1979 original.
Hardy plays Max Rockatansky, the law enforcement officer turned desert nomad who roams a post-apocalyptic world where fuel and water are scarce, and sympathy for the weak is scarcer.
The actor was initially daunted when he accepted the role because Mad Max is synonymous with Mel Gibson and is an iconic character.
INHERITING A LEGACY
“At the same time, I was really excited to get the job because it’s such a big fish to land, but it had a seesaw affect. It’s like being the new boy at school – in some way, you’re set up for failure, immediately,” Hardy said at a press conference in Hollywood to promote the new movie.
“I was inheriting a legacy and had been chosen by George to transmute his vision and his character into the Mad Max world of today.”
Past and present Mad Max: Mel Gibson (right) and Tom Hardy (left)
While the movie is called Mad Max, it is Charlize Theron’s female protagonist, Imperator Furiosa, who is the talk in fan circles.
For this fourth instalment, Miller created a character who turns out to be just as – or even more – dark and tortured as Max: a female Road Warrior.
MORE: 'Mad Max: Fury Road' review
Theron said: “I remember that there were loud whispers around town that George was going to re-imagine this world and that he was going to create this female character, and she’s going to stand right next to Max.”
The 39-year-old Oscar-winning actress is no stranger to strong female characters, with a breakthrough performance in 2003’s ‘Monster’. In 2012, she played Queen Ravenna in ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ and Meredith Vickers in ‘Prometheus’.
In ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, Theron’s character escapes with human cargo, which turns out to be the wives, or rather sex slaves of a tyrannical warlord.
(From left) Abbey Lee Kershaw, Courtney Eaton, Zoe Kravitz, Charlize Theron and Riley Keogh in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
The five women, despite their lithesome appearance, are pivotal to the story. Together with Theron’s character, they subvert the patriarchy that is prevalent in their world.
Theron said: “I think George has an innate understanding about what women represent in society, and he wanted to reflect that in a post-apocalyptic world in the most truthful way possible."
For 70-year-old director Miller, it is his experiences with strong women that led him to build the story around them.
“I was able to experience women through my two marriages. I also have a very strong mum. Somehow we’re now seeing that women are emerging in a way as perhaps a unifying or healing force in the world. I think that’s in the zeitgeist, and I guess that crept into the movie,” he said.
FRESH EYES ON OLD WORLD
There are outrageous costumes and souped-up vehicles aplenty in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
For Miller, going back to the world of Mad Max is akin to “visiting an old hometown and seeing it through new eyes”.
It has been more than three decades since he created the first ‘Mad Max’ movie, and then followed it up with ‘The Road Warrior’ in 1981 and ‘Beyond Thunderdome’ in 1985.
“A lot had changed in 30 years," he said. "The world had changed. Cinema had changed, and technology had changed. This was an opportunity to sort of blend all that together.
“It was a chance to really go into a much more fully realised world.”