The rollercoaster journey of casting the title role in George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” is documented in Kyle Buchanan’s upcoming oral history book “Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road.” An excerpt published by Vulture reveals that casting Max Rockatansky boiled down to Tom Hardy, Armie Hammer and Jeremy Renner after an exhaustive search that also included Michael Fassbender, Joel Kinnaman, Heath Ledger, Eric Bana and more.
Buchanan, who is also the awards season columnist for the New York Times, reports: “Near the end of the process, Hardy emerged as a front-runner alongside Jeremy Renner and Armie Hammer. Hardy and Hammer even read together as part of their audition, and when Hardy gnashed his teeth and spat at his scene partner, Hammer told Miller that Hardy needed to be Max more than he did.”
Audition cameraman Todd Matthew Grossman told Buchanan, “Jeremy and Armie were equally wonderful, but there was something about Tom in the room where it felt like that was Max, without a doubt. He had that kind of suppressed emotional dryness that you’d find in a post-apocalypse and, buried underneath it, disdain for the world. There was this intensity that burned through the lens.”
Miller added, “I had the same feeling about Tom that I had when [original ‘Mad Max’ star] Mel Gibson first walked into the room: There was a kind of edgy charm, the charisma of animals. You don’t know what’s going on in their inner depths, and yet they’re enormously attractive.”
Perhaps the wildest casting reveal in “Blood, Sweat & Chrome” is confirmation that Miller was interested for a time in casting rapper Eminem in the lead role of Max long before Tom Hardy entered the process.
“He’d done ‘8 Mile,’ and I found that really interesting — I thought, ‘He’s got that quality,’” Miller said. “We’d done the first ‘Happy Feet’ with the late Brittany Murphy, and she had done ‘8 Mile,’ so I asked her what he was like and would this be something really interesting for him? She had no reservations about saying what a wonderful talent he is.”
Miller added, “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.”
Representatives for Hardy did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
“Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road” releases Feb. 22 and is now available for pre-order. Head over to Vulture’s website to read the excerpt in its entirety.