George Miller Explains The Genesis Of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Where better to get your news of a new psot-apocalyptic action movie than through interviews to promote an animated musical sequel aimed at kids and families? George Miller directed the three Mad Max movies, and also oversaw the two Happy Feet films. As he does press rounds for Happy Feet 2, Miller is talking frequently about Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film in his action series about a wasteland-hardened survivor.

Many of his comments so far have boiled down to "yes, the film was delayed when weather turned planned Australian desert locations to meadows, but it will still happen." Today, however, Miller gave a pretty full rundown of the gestation of the fourth Mad Max movie, a process that goes back more than ten years.

Speaking to The Playlist, Miller talked about his reluctance to go back to Mad Max after making three films. But some characters are difficult to be rid of. "They're sort of part of your family in a strange way. So like family, they keep on intruding."

He elaborates,

14 years ago, I remember the moment when I was walking across a street, a crossing," he explained. "While I was in the middle of the road, I got this sudden flash of a story, and by the time I got across the street, I realized, oh my God – that's a 'Mad Max' movie! It was the core idea. The last thing I ever wanted to do was a 'Mad Max' movie, so I pushed it away.

But a few years later a story came to him while on a plane and he realized the Mad Max movie was going to happen whether he wanted it or not.

Miller confirms that Heath Ledger was part of his plan to make a fourth film in 2003, before the impending Iraq war rendered planned Namibia locations off-limits in the eyes of studio execs and insurers. That version died there. He also confirms that Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult are still set for Fury Road.

And as for Fury Road, the years of preparation have put it into a good position:

It's a rigorously vetted film; I mean, the whole film has been prepared, storyboarded and so on. I'm surprised how little has changed [in the script] in that time. But these films aren't really speculating about a future, they're westerns in the same way that westerns would kind of morality plays, figures in the landscape, and you're able to somehow reduce this human behavior to its most elemental. So now, it's very clear to see the story in there where perhaps the modern world is a little bit too cluttered – it's a bit hard to see the signals amongst the noise.

So when does the movie shoot? Miller told Collider,

We were all geared up for [Fury Road], to shoot in the Australian desert, and then unprecedented rains came. What was the wasteland – completely flat, red earth – is now a flower garden. And the big, massive salt flats, where they do world record speed trials, is now full of pelicans and fish. Where the fish came from, I have no idea. So, we've lost the wasteland.. Theoretically, [the shoot is] next year. We have 150 big vehicles built. But, to be perfectly honest, [I just finished Happy Feet], and I'm not even there in my head, right now.