It's been a long wait, and then they tossed a few extra months on for good measure, but Mad Max: Fury Road is almost here. Now creator George Miller explains how it all came together.
In an interview with HitFix, Miller talked about the development process and how he eventually nailed down the story and concepts that would become Fury Road. Not surprisingly, it's one heck of a process, and Miller revealed they actually mapped the story out visually before putting it all down into a script. Considering the epic set pieces on display in those trailers, that’s not much of a shocker.
Here are some choice excerpts from the conversation:
"Yeah, we mapped out the story and wrote a short document. Then we boarded it. It was conceived visually in the first instance, and then to make it readable, we had a 170 page screenplay with text like in the usual fashion but with images from the storyboards which saved you describing things. It was often the beginning of a new scene, so you know exactly where you were and so, you know, a complex bit of action or something like that, all you had to do is put one or two storyboards side by side and the reader knew exactly what it was. It was an illustrated script.
There’s a kind of a process where you think of a scene. You think, ‘Oh here’s a situation, here’s a scene, and then because you play it sequentially and because the language we’re working in is visual, movie syntax, so like you would write and your mind is processing and already contextualizing your words.’ The same thing happens as a vision. It’s not like a movie playing in my head. It’s like a dream. It’s like a not-so-real dream that goes on. Then you put it down and test it against reality, and you check out inconsistencies. You go looking for subtext and then you start sort of building it that way. But it’s first conceived in that way. Exactly as you would a sentence or a composer with a bit of music, you know. It’s no different than that, except it’s visual music."
Miller also talked about the mind-boggling size of the film itself, which looks to feature some of the most ambitiously insane action ever put to film. According to Miller, it all came together from the story itself, and it just became a bigger way to tell what is essentially a basic story of a chase across the desert:
"Oh no, I never intended for the size to happen. It comes out of story and then really we spent… I mean, when people see the film, it will look pretty straightforward and relatively simple as a chase across the Wasteland and how in that crucible all the characters emerge and reveal the backstory. One of the advantages of the delays and doing other films and coming back to it I was able to go deeper and deeper into the story in every way. I tried to indicate last night, in every way there are very specific ground rules as to the influence of everyone’s designs and big goals and even language. They have a language in many ways of found objects and repurposed. So we had to create a human ecology in the Wasteland and there was the Immortan Joe, the Warlord, and that required a certain scale to make him the tyrannical figure that he is. Therefore that required a number of vehicles and that determined the number of chases and so on and so on. Pretty soon, you’re looking at ‘This is much bigger than I ever intended it to be.’ That’s what it is, you know. That’s the scale of it. These things are very organic."
Mad Max: Fury Road opens May 15. Do you think it’ll be worth the wait?