The Way To Fury Road: 10 Things you didn’t know about Mad Max

The Way To Fury Road: 10 Things you didn’t know about Mad Max

To get you ready for Mad Max: Fury Road, as part of our coverage of the eagerly awaited new film, Tripwire’s roving film reporter Tim Hayes gives our readers 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mad Max…

  1. George Miller, director and co-writer of all four Mad Max films, also made the animated film Happy Feet about cute dancing penguins and its sequel, along with Babe: Pig In The City – the latter being among the darkest children’s films of the 1990s. Miller originally studied medicine and made it all the way to completing his residency at a Sydney hospital, directing short films on the side, before opting to switch career paths completely.


  1. The first Mad Max film was a cult domestic success, but Mad Max 2 was an international break-out hit. Released in the US with the distribution muscle of Warner Bros behind it and a canny title change to The Road Warrior, its dynamic flair caught the eye of Steven Spielberg, who offered Miller the chance to direct one segment of the ill-fated Twilght Zone: The Movie. By common consensus, Miller’s section is one of that film’s best.


  1. Byron Kennedy, Miller’s partner in the Kennedy Miller production company, was the producer of the first two Mad Max films but died in a helicopter crash in 1983. The credits of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome include the dedication “…for Byron.”


  1. Between the second and third Mad Max films, Kennedy Miller produced the 1984 TV miniseries Bodyline about the infamous 1932 England cricket tour of Australia. The series was one of the first starring roles for Hugo Weaving, playing England captain Douglas Jardine and looking not so much like an Oxford-educated sportsman and rather more like Bela Lugosi.


  1. Bruce Spence plays the Gyro Captain in Mad Max and Mad Max 2. During the later period in which big Hollywood films made major use of Australian studio space, Spence played roles in The Matrix, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars franchises – the holy trinity.


  1. Miller later said that making Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome had not been an entirely positive experience, and the film is co-directed by George Ogilvie, a colleague of Miller’s who had earlier worked on Bodyline. Box office returns on the third film were the best yet, although not enough to match expectations, and the film makes for a quite different viewing experience compared to the relentless wild and crazy abandon of its predecessor.


  1. The trilogy of films with Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky span twenty years in the life of the character, although they were made between 1979 and 1985.


  1. Music for the first two films was composed by Brian May – not that one – before Miller hired veteran French composer Maurice Jarre, father of Jean Michael, to score Beyond Thunderdome. But most people’s musical memory of that film involves Tina Turner belting out “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” over the end credits.


  1. Fury Road has taken decades to get to the screen, being delayed by – among other things –  the 9/11 attacks, the outbreak of the 2003 Iraq War, and the death of Heath Ledger who was said to in line to play the character. At one point Miller was apparently considering an animated version, before seeing the light. Acclaimed Australian cinematographer John Seale, having shot Lorenzo’s Oil for Miller back in 1992, came out of retirement to shoot the film.


  1. British comic creator Brendan McCarthy co-wrote Fury Road and contributed character designs. McCarthy and Peter Milligan’s Freakwave series, first published by Pacific Comics in 1983, takes place on a world flooded with water rather than choked on desert sand, but is clearly the work of fans of the Road Warrior. McCarthy’s involvement in Fury Road makes him one of the few figures in the British comics industry able to claim co-creation of a $150-million film opening at the Cannes Film Festival.

Mad Max [1979] [DVD]

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior [Blu-ray] [1985] [Region Free]

Mad Max 3 – Beyond Thunderdome (1985) [DVD]

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