Everything about “Mad Max: Fury Road” is mind-blowing: 15 years from creation to premiere; 3,500 storyboard images; nine months in the Namibian desert, often with 20 cameras and up to 80 vehicles; 480 hours of footage crunched into two hours, with 2,700 edits for the final print. In this interview, director George Miller pays tribute to his colleagues Below the Line.
Director of Photography: John Seale
“He was the big camera operator during the resurgence of Australian cinema. Everyone wanted to use it. Now he’s a great cinematographer and still a great operator, which is important in a tight space. For example, when you work in the cabin of the War Rig (Charlize Theron’s vehicle), it makes seven or eight actors in a very tight space, and everything was in motion. But he was still gentle, elegant. He had a big influence in creating a safe space for actors, and that’s a big deal. For him, it is as much about performance as it is about composition. He had wanted to retire and he turned 70 during the shoot, but he was in the thick of it, and was very nimble with the cameras, and always calm and artistic.
Publisher: Marguerite Sixel
“Ah, the love of my life and the mother of my two teenage boys. She hadn’t made an action movie and didn’t think she would be suitable for it. But she’s done quite a few documentaries and can take material that looks ordinary and shape a true story. We dumped huge amounts of footage on her. We ran a lot of digital cameras because they are (relatively) cheap, and one (digital) card lasted 40 minutes. She had storyboards and a script, but can be unbiased about the pictures, which is what you need. She knew what I wanted, but she’s looking at what’s on the screen, which isn’t always the same. It is important. I knew she could find the beat. Like a composer, you have to find the tempo, the progression, the melodic line. You are looking for the relationship between one moment and the next. She spent a lot of time on the film; it wasn’t fair to our kids, but they thought it was cool that their mom was putting on an action movie as opposed to “happy feet”.
|“We have been spinning a lot of digital cameras because they are relatively cheap. “|
Hairdresser / make-up artist: Lesley Vanderwalt
“She brought great skill and she’s also a great leader, in the way the hair and makeup team prepares the actors. This is how actors start their day, and a good team will appreciate that. She understood the characters and the restrictions. Sitting in a War Rig hurtling down the desert, you couldn’t stop for touch-ups. Charlize had a makeup kit to do it herself, and Lesley designed a look that could be striking but easy to touch up.
Production designer: Colin Gibson
“I think he had fun, especially with the vehicles. One of the guiding ideas of the film: everything must be made from found objects. Max’s mask is a garden fork; the guitar on the car uses a hospital bedpan. Colin and his team took a steering wheel, a doll head and figured out how to use them. Even though it is the desert, people can do beautiful things. Colin is almost impossible to describe. There were times when I thought he was triplets. He’s everywhere, on top of a cliff with a motorbike, the next minute he’s on the road, painting a fake rock. He is not afraid to tell you what he thinks, which is very valuable.