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Mad Max director George Miller on Fury Road feud, keeping the peace for the prequel Furiosa

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In the apocalyptic epic Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy‘s Max and Charlize Theron‘s Furiosa didn’t like each other very much — which was handy, because the stars were at odds behind the scenes, too.

To the U.K.’s Telegraph, director George Miller unpacked the famous feud, which was quite different from his experience working with Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth in his prequel, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

According to the making-of book Blood, Sweat and Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, Theron “didn’t feel safe” around Hardy and requested a female producer to shadow her.

To the Telegraph, Miller said “they were just two very different performers,” though he added the escalating situation “never should have happened.”

The filmmaker explains, “Tom has a damage to him but also a brilliance that comes with it, and whatever was going on with him at the time, he had to be coaxed out of his trailer. Whereas Charlize was incredibly disciplined — a dancer by training, which told in the precision of her performance — and always the first one on set.”

Miller added, “I’m an optimist, so I saw their behaviour as mirroring their characters, where they had to learn to co-operate in order to ensure mutual survival.”

But he admitted, “There’s no excuse for it, and I think there’s a tendency in this business to use great performances as an excuse for other disruption that could be avoided.”

Apparently having learned from his mistakes, Miller said he advised Chris and Anya, the latter of whom plays the younger Furiosa in the prequel, to be “obsessive about safety — not just physical but also psychological safety.”

Furiosa opens May 24.

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