Mad Max: Fury Road Would've Starred Eminem In A Weird Alternate Universe

It's hard to remember that before "Mad Max: Fury Road" hit the scene — and blew the bloody doors off every theater where it screened — that the whole development of the movie was friggin' bonkers. There were Terry Gilliam-level natural disasters that plagued the production, in-fighting with the two leads, skyrocketing budgets, extensive reshoots, and I'm sure a nervous breakdown or two. Luckily, George Miller is a hell of a director and somehow managed to wrangle a modern action movie classic out of the chaos.

There's a great oral history of the casting of "Mad Max: Fury Road" out over at Vulture excerpted from the book "Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road" by Kyle Buchanan and it details a lot of potential Maxes that were discussed along the way before the team landed on Tom Hardy. It should be noted that Miller was going to do this very same movie with Mel Gibson reprising his role a few years before "Fury Road" took on new life and actually made it before cameras. However, they eventually decided to recast the part and met with just about every actor in Hollywood about filling Max's boots.

One name in particular stands out in a "Wait, what?!?" kind of way. That name is Eminem. 

Guzzolene and Mom's Spaghetti

Miller was apparently fascinated by Marshall Mathers after seeing him in Curtis Hanson's "8 Mile," the semi-autobiographical film about Eminem's roots. Curious, the director reached out and discussed this with Eminem and the talks went well enough that Miller had the lead storyboard artist on "Fury Road," Mark Sexton, draw up some storyboards that gave Max blond hair. 

However, it wasn't meant to be for a reason that might surprise you:

"We did get in touch with him, though that's as far as it went because we were going to shoot it in Australia at that point, and he simply didn't want to leave home. I think he had the impression that if he could do it out of his home state, then he'd be up for it."

Gotta love George Miller for thinking outside the box, though. I think he landed on the right Max, but if want some fun stuff to chew on, here are the other actors who he either considered or actually workshopped with for the part: Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Renner, Armie Hammer, Joel Kinnaman, Eric Bana, Sam Worthington, and Heath Ledger.

Based on the quotes in Buchanan's book, it sounds like the part was going to Heath Ledger before he tragically passed away. Try to picture that in your mind's eye and see if you don't get a bit teary-eyed over what could have been.

But, we ended up with a great Max, even if he was (apparently) a nightmare for the cast and crew to work with. I don't know about that (I wasn't there personally!), but I can say as someone who has watched this movie a dozen times since release that what's onscreen is brilliant.