‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Originally Wrapped Production without a Beginning or an Ending

     May 13, 2020

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Mad Max: Fury Road is easily one of the best films of the 21st century and one of the greatest action movies ever made. And yet its production was consistently tumultuous and difficult, both from what was required of George Miller‘s specific vision and elements that were out of the filmmakers’ control. For example, because the film’s production had run on for so long and they were over budget, the movie was forced to wrap principal photography despite not having a beginning or an ending. All the scenes at the Citadel hadn’t been filmed yet, and the movie was forced to go into post-production without those scenes.

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Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Kyle Buchanan reports from his excellent oral history on the movie for The New York Times:

KRAVITZ We were behind schedule, and we heard the studio was freaking out about how we were over budget.

 

SEALE The president of Warner Bros. flew to Namibia and had a gold-plated fit.

 

MILLER Jeff was in a bake-off with Kevin Tsujihara about who was going to head the studio, and he had to assert himself to show his superiors that he was in command and a strong executive. I knew what he was going through, but it wasn’t going to do anybody any good at all. [Robinov could not be reached for comment.]

 

MITCHELL He said, “The camera will stop on Dec. 8, no matter what you’ve got, and that’s the end of it.” We hadn’t shot any of the scenes in the Citadel yet, where the opening and closing book ends of the film are set, and we had to go into postproduction without them. It was almost incomprehensible.

Thankfully, it all worked out as Jeff Robinov, who had tried to strong-arm the production, lost his job and Kevin Tsujihara decided if they were going to do the film, they should do it right. So they were able to do reshoots in Australia in late 2013 and give the movie the opening and closing it needed. It’s hard to imagine how the film would have been shaped without the Citadel scenes (How do you even get Max on the road if he hasn’t been captured? How does the movie end if not at the Citadel?), but I’m glad that the execs at WB saw the light and let Miller complete his vision.

For what Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy had to say about fighting with each other on the film, click here.

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