If you had told me at the beginning of 2015 that one of the major players in the Academy Awards race for Best Director would be George Miller — the mad Aussie responsible for envisioning the uncompromising wasteland of the “Mad Max” pictures — I’d have told you that you were out of your mind. And yet here we are, and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” having landed on many critic’s Top 10 of the year lists (including my own), has now racked up ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Miller. It’s a neat feat, and reaffirming too: ‘Fury Road’ is, after all, a highly unusual and at times aggressively bizarre film, and it’s nice to know that genuinely unique, large-scale movies like this can still do well in both the critical and commercial spheres.
In a new talk with the good folks at Studio 360, director George Miller chats about ‘Fury Road’ in great detail and also gives some background info for the film’s considerable foundation, as well as dropping some juicy hints as to where the “Mad Max” movies might go in the future. Much critical ink has been spilled over the abundance of practical effects in ‘Fury Road,’ and although much of the movie contains CGI-enhanced imagery, Miller insists that the filmmaker’s primary goal was to keep it as real as possible:
“There was CG involved in an enormous number of shots, but it was always supportive of the real world stuff,” Miller elaborates. “This is a film that didn’t defy the laws of physics. There were no flying men or spacecraft, so if you’re going to go out into the desert and have two vehicles colliding, why do it artificially? It was much better to do it for real.”
Spoken like a true visionary. Miller also talks about his relationship with wife and editor, Margaret Sixel, and how her no-bullshit policy allowed him to fine-tune ‘Fury Road’ to its lean and mean state, as well as how seeing fellow Aussie Peter Jackson’s experiments with technology in his “Lord of the Rings” flicks inspired him to push his own visual language further in the exuberant children’s film “Happy Feet” (lest we forget, Miller was the man behind the camera for both the “Happy Feet” and the “Babe” films, as well as the earnest drama “Lorenzo’s Oil” and, somehow, “The Witches of Eastwick”). Later on, Miller also discusses ‘Fury Road’ star Tom Hardy’s very real fear of heights, how his own background in medicine is tied to his work as a director, and what’s possibly next on the docket.
Meanwhile, also had an extensive talk with Awards Chatter, and he admits that ‘Fury Road’ has no real, solid connection to the preceding films.
“There’s no real continuity, just as there wasn’t between the first three,” Miller said.
“This one came along and it was an opportunity to take what was there; repurpose it, in a way; and take into account all the ways in which the world has changed and I’ve changed and the technology’s changed,” he added.
Both are great talks, so check ’em below.