George Miller is looking back at the difficulties he faced on location when filming the epic reboot of his Mad Max franchise in 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Australian filmmaker recounts the powerful moment when Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furiosa lets out that guttural scream in the desert, and has praised the star’s acting talents as being akin to that of an "elite athlete."
You know the scene: The audience has just been given its first desert dust-filled breather after 90 minutes of fiery-fueled action, when Furiosa has the devastating realization that the homeland she’s been in search of all this time, the “Green Place of the Many Mothers,” is now nothing but a wasteland.
But Miller – who opted for a storyboard of action scenes rather than a traditional script for the movie – revealed that on the day of shooting, the African desert wind became so forceful that it was unclear if they would be able to complete the scene.
Miller recalled: “Instead of cursing the wind, I looked behind us and saw the sand dunes had this wind blowing sand across it. And the sun was getting low in the sky. And I thought, ‘She could walk across the bridge of the dune and into the sun and just respond however she would, having now have completely lost all hope.’”
Impressively, he revealed that the only note Theron was given was to remove the character's prosthetic arm, to make Furiosa seem more vulnerable. And so, as her piece of machinery fell, and Theron is seen drifting out onto the dunes with the unplanned gusts of wind billowing sand about in full view of the camera, Miller was able to capture the raw moment improvised by Theron all in one miraculous take.
Unsurprisingly, Miller was left in awe of Theron’s ability to nail it on the fly. He explained: “Great performance artists have all the skills of an athlete but also need those emotional human skills they have to convey. I knew in an action film like this Charlize had all those attributes. … Charlize is very precise; having been a very fine ballet dancer she understands space and how to move in space, and it was basically us watching her do it. I thank the movie gods all the elements were in place. We were lucky to get the wind, but there wasn’t any luck in getting the performance.”
We've gotta admit, learning the backstory has just made that scene 100% more awe-inspiring. To look back at other glorious moments from the action juggernaut, we recently re-watched the movie and had a lot of things to say about it, which you can watch in the video below.
Also, don’t forget to give us your opinion on it too, in the comment section underneath.