The Hard Road to ‘Furiosa’ Was Filled With Detours

In the hardscrabble, postapocalyptic world of “Mad Max,” nothing is more precious than water and gasoline. But to actually make “Mad Max” movies requires an even rarer commodity: faith.

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, who fought during the difficult and chaotic making of the 2015 “Mad Max: Fury Road,” later said they wished they had placed more faith in the vision of George Miller, the director. The people who greenlit “Fury Road” didn’t fully understand it, either: Warner Bros. executives flew to Namibia, the site of the filming, and demanded that Miller cease production before the movie was complete, then crafted an alternative edit in an effort to undermine Miller’s final cut.

Against all odds, Miller was able to release a one-of-a-kind, Oscar-winning masterwork. Now, he has returned with “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” a prequel to “Fury Road,” which premiered Wednesday night at the Cannes Film Festival and will be released in theaters next Wednesday.

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015), a hit despite the chaotic production.Credit…Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.

Did Miller feel the wind at his back while making “Furiosa,” since the reception to “Fury Road” vindicated his vision?

“It definitely made it easier,” he said. “It didn’t make it effortless.”

That last point may be understating things just a bit: A bevy of natural disasters, including floods and the coronavirus, pushed the production’s budget to $233 million, making it the most expensive movie ever shot in Australia. At every point in its making, Miller was faced with challenges as outsized as the fantasy world he labored to create.

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