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Charlize Theron Admits ‘Mad Max’ Set Tension Was Fueled by Lack of Trust in George Miller

The actress says trusting her director more would've made "Fury Road" a lot easier to shoot.

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Village Roadshow/Kobal/Shutterstock

Charlize Theron is holding nothing back about the making of “Mad Max: Fury Road” five years after its release. The Oscar-winning actress took part in a New York Times oral history of the action movie published last week and got honest about fighting with co-star Tom Hardy on set, and now she admits that much of the “Fury Road” set tension was fueled by her own lack of trust in director George Miller. New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan recently posted outtakes from the oral history on social media, one of which finds Theron taking part of the blame for creating such a rocky production atmosphere.

“We didn’t have a script, let’s start with that,” Theron said about set tension. “We had pictures. As an actor, it was so nerve-wracking and every time I sat down with him, I would ask him, ‘Ok, but what happens here?’ He’s the loveliest man, and he would go on these tangents explaining things to me that aren’t even a part of the movie, since he’s sat for 30 years thinking about this. And at the end of it, I would come out of those meetings like, ‘I still don’t know what happens.’ Looking back at it, I should have trusted him a little bit more and I think it would have made the shoot easier. It’s not easy for him to fully lay out what you want to know.”

Theron remembered just how worth it the grueling production was when she first saw a cut of “Mad Max: Fury Road” that was three-and-a-half hours long. The actress said, “Usually when you watch a long cut, you’re like, ‘Oh my god, no, get rid of that, it’s so repetitive.’ But there was nothing that felt repetitive to me, and I got lost in all those moments. I felt like for the first time in my career I was part of something where you could truly say, ‘This feels original.’ George is a master. And it’s all inside his head. Sometimes I just want to climb and spend some time in there to understand it better.”

What was removed from the three-and-a-half-hour cut to get the film down to two hours? Lots of erratic Tom Hardy behavior, apparently. “Fury Road” editor Margaret Sixel told The Times, “Tom was a bit all over the place. Even in the end chase, he was trying comedy and we had to cut that all out and make it serious.”

Despite all the set tension, “Fury Road” would go on to become one of the best action films of all time. Head over to Twitter to read more outtakes from the New York Times “Mad Max” oral history.

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