The Mad Max franchise, created by director and all around action genius George Miller, was already a huge success before Mad Max: Fury Road came along. Fury Road put a new spin on an old classic that nobody saw coming. It quickly grossed millions worldwide and was an instant critical success.
By recreating his masterpiece, Miller brought us arguably one of the best action movies ever made. Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, making it one of only five films in Academy history to be nominated in all seven technical categories. The movie ended up walking away with 6 wins of its 10 nominations - taking home the most awards of that year.
From the extensive training the professional stunt doubles went through, to creating and building epic cars, to using the innovative "Edge Arm" to film driving scenes - Miller left no stone unturned in creating this epic desert battle. One driving scene was actually shot in a 25 mile stretch!
You'll be surprised to learn just how much of this movie is actually real, and how very little of it was created by CGI. In fact, it's become the film's defining feature.
These behind-the-scenes photos give us a real look at exactly what it took to film this blockbuster over 120 days in the desert. As you'll see, it was no easy task for the cast or crew. Everyone involved put their blood, sweat, and tears into this film - and it definitely shows.
Here are 20 Behind-The-Scenes Photos Of Mad Max: Fury Road That Change Everything.
20 Director's perspective
Director George Miller pulled out all the stops when it came to filming the driving scenes of Mad Max: Fury Road. In fact, the epic desert driving scenes are what earned the movie such critical acclaim. When revealing how he managed to film such realistic scenes, Miller admitted that one major thing helped him do it.
That thing is a device called an Edge Arm. "It's the coolest cinema making instrument that was ever invented," Miller told TopGear. "We would not have been able to do this movie without it."
The gyrostabalized camera on a crane was attached to an off-road vehicle that was able to keep up with the race and get every perfect shot. This behind-the-scenes perspective from the Edge Arm is truly incredible.
19 The green desert
Mad Max: Fury Road definitely has some of the most realistic action scenes ever filmed. That being said, every blockbuster action movie needs a little help from green screen, and here it's no different. Director George Miller filmed everything he could in the desert, but here we see one example where a studio was definitely needed.
We'll forgive Miller for using some CGI help, seeing as all of his Oscar-worthy chase scenes make up for it.
In fact, Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for ten Oscars. As one of only five films in Oscar history to be nominated in every technical category, it shares the record with The Revenant, Hugo, Titanic, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
18 Furiosa's Arm
Yet another instance where green screen was neccessary comes in the form of Furiosa's mechanical arm. Furiosa - played perfectly by Charlize Theron - has a very convincing mechanical arm in the film. She even detaches it at one point, leaving audiences to wonder just how they made it look so real.
Theron was actually rigged with a metal arm while her real arm was covered in green.
This is just one of many details that makes Mad Max: Fury Road stand out.
Can we talk about how much work Theron is putting in here? Sand in her face, climbing on a truck, and still making it happen. The actors in this film certainly went through a lot to deliver.
17 Hanging Out
One of the stand-out parts of the Mad Max: Fury Road chase scenes is the pole swinging scene. Since Miller wanted to make everything as realistic as possible, in this instance CGI was only used to erase harnesses and cables. He was hesitant at first, but stunt coordinator Guy Norris convinced him it was possible. Yep, you guessed it, these stunt men were actually swinging around on giant poles.
For the major Polecats sequence, the stunt men actually had to be trained in Chinese pole work.
They even brought in a former Cirque du Soleil performer to teach an eight week training course. Basically, Norris left no stone unturned when it came to this sequence, and made sure his stunt men were heavily trained to make it work.
16 Charlize gets some shade
While the stunts of Mad Max: Fury Road are incredibly impressive, there were many other difficulties that came along with the film.
For one, a majority of the film takes place in the desert. It took them about 120 days of filming to complete, that means 120 days in the sun, heat, and sand. Action films are grueling enough already, but set it in a hostile environment like the middle of the desert and the work of the cast and crew doubles.
Here we see Charlize Theron getting some relief from the sun that's likely been beating down on her all day. Crew members often wore bandanas on their faces to protect from sand, and hats and jackets to protect from the sun.
15 Up close and personal
Nicholas Hoult is an incredibly impressive part of the film. He plays a deranged and terminally-ill character Nux who we strangely come to love by the end. For Hoult it wasn't that difficult to get into character.
After spending 2 hours in makeup every morning, Hoult was transformed into Nux. He admitted the on set environment was crucial to how he got into character. He recalls, "the engines are rumbling around you and the war drums are getting beaten on the truck next door, and there’s 100 guys in makeup and costumes really fired up. And that does make the hairs on your arms stand up a bit.”
As revealing as behind-the-scenes photos are, it's clearly nothing compared to being in the middle of it.
14 Epic sand shot
While it's easy to wonder about the trials of filming a movie in the desert, seeing a picture like this really puts things into perspective.
This is a great shot of Miller's beloved Edge Arm camera rig.
Whether or not that's a stunt double running between vehicles in a whirlwind of sand is unclear, but whoever it is they're putting in hard work.
It's honestly a miracle that the cast and crew were able to see at all. While the sand made filming difficult, it also added to the realism of the chase scenes. Realistically, sand would be everywhere in an all-out car race across the desert, so as with everything else, Miller made it happen.
13 Furiosa stunt double
Charlize, is that you? Mad Max: Fury Road certainly wouldn't be what it is without it's stunt doubles. While Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron did plenty of their own work, their doubles were there to pick up the hardest parts of the job.
Here we see Theron's stunt double for Furiosa, Dayna Grant.
This isn't the first time Grant has doubled for Theron.
She was also her stunt double in Snow White and the Huntsman. Grant has doubled in many other films and TV shows, making her experienced enough to take on a role of this magnitude.
Guy Norris, stunt coordinator, picked his team very carefully. Judging by the final product, he made all the right choices.
12 Tom Hardy and his stunt double
Now things are really getting creepy. Could Guy Norris have found a better, more identical stunt double for Tom Hardy than Jacob Tomuri? We really don't think so. In fact, everyone seems to agree that Tomuri is the guy to use for Hardy in any film.
Tomuri doubled for Hardy in The Revenant, Legend, and is even his double in Hardy's upcoming movie Venom. It seems like these two have formed a solid relationship in the past few years. It's no surprise, since the resemblance is uncanny.
Though Tomuri wasn't Hardy's rehearsal double, he was quickly cast as his double for the actual filming of the movie. We bet we'll see much more of him in Hardy's future films.
11 Hanging by a thread
Director George Miller has made it abundantly clear that CGI was used very minimally for Mad Max: Fury Road. Here we can see one example of the harnesses and cables that CGI was able to erase.
Charlize Theron may be strong, but she's not strong enough to hold a dangling Tom Hardy out the window of a truck with one arm.
Yes, this is actually Theron and Hardy, not their stunt doubles. In fact, Theron was terrified even to do the stunt like this. Hardy's head was incredibly close to the ground, and his son actually asked what would happen if the cables so happened to snap. George Miller, not sugar-coating anything said, "well, I suppose he’d go under the wheels.”
10 Hardy gets physical
If we're being honesty, it's pretty hard to distinguish Tom Hardy from his stunt double. Here it does look like Hardy's getting the close up while hanging onto the back of a truck.
When you consider all the editing that went into the action scenes, it's no question why Mad Max: Fury Road got nominated for so many technical Oscars.
Here we see one of many up close moments in the film. The editing of the actions scenes is impressive because of how seamlessly it flips between far off driving shots to being right in or on the vehicle with somebody. It adds an emotional aspect to scenes that may otherwise just be filled with outlandish stunts.
9 Taking a break
Here we have a rare picture of Tom Hardy and George Miller actually taking a breather on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road. They seem to be watching dailies - raw, uncut footage which was just filmed. Miller had to make sure he got every scene just the way he wanted.
Even on a busy action set like this one, stopping for the small details is necessary.
Even though Miller had a very specific vision, he made sure to be concise about it and not waste anyone's time. He recalls the massive size of the set, "at the height of filming, there were 1,700 crew members – with an average of 1,000 people on set at any one time."
8 Green screen in the desert
This picture shows us how masterfully Mad Max: Fury Road was able to combine CGI with reality. Even in the desert, green screens were often set up to add to the background. This is one example of a great use of green screen.
Many action movies rely on entire studios of green screen rather than mixing computer technology with the real world. We're willing to bet that because of Mad Max: Fury Road's huge success and award nominations that more directors will start to follow suit.
Now all we need is a Fury Road sequel, which sadly is in limbo because of an ongoing lawsuit by George Miller over the bonus from this film.
7 Getting the epic driving shots
This behind-the-scenes photo gives another look at just how cool George Miller's epic Edge Arm filming device is. When talking about how it feels to drive alongside while filming, Miller could barely contain himself.
He describes being in the Edge Arm as "such a cool looking thing." As for how it works, there's "a great stunt driver, while next to him in the front seat is a crane operator working toggle switches. In the back seat there’s a camera operator, and then there’s [Miller], the director, sitting in the middle with this screen in front."
What we wouldn't give for a ride along! "It's like being in the middle of a video game," Miller says.
6 Hardy in chains
Have you ever seen someone look more defeated than Tom Hardy does in this picture?
We've certainly acknowledged that the cast and crew had it rough in the desert, but clearly some had it more rough than others.
Hardy spends a decent amount of time in the film either tied up or in a metal face mask attached to a chain.
Surprisingly, when asked about the mask Hardy didn't seem too bothered.
Referring to his tendency to play villains in a mask, he says, "I do like a mask. I’m not going to lie, sorry. But it was nice to get a new one, and in the form of a garden fork stuck to my face." At least he has a sense of humor about it!
5 Stunt doubles in love
This picture is definitely worth 1,000 words. One of the coolest behind-the-scenes moments to come from Mad Max: Fury Road has everything to do with stunt doubles but nothing to do with the actual stunts. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron's doubles Dane Grant and Dayna Porter (now Dayna Grant) met and fell in love on set.
They actually got married, making this a true behind-the-scenes love story.
Funny enough, stories swirled around the filming of Mad Max: Fury Road that Hardy and Theron themselves didn't quite get along. Well, at least their stunt doubles did!
Even though Grant was only Hardy's rehearsal double and was replaced for the movie, the two had already fallen in love.
4 "Stranded" in the desert
Sure, the entire point of a movie is to not show on screen what's going on in the background. It still doesn't change the fact that director George Miller did an excellent job of making it feel like the cast really was alone out there.
This is one of many scenes where we see the beautiful wives all in white completely abandoned in the desert.
Even a simple shot like this looks like it takes about 15 people in the background. It's no wonder there were days on set where over 1,000 people were behind the scenes.
Shooting in this kind of environment, it's definitely helpful to have all hands on deck just in case something goes wrong.
3 Hardy and Theron take a breather
This behind-the=scenes shot is a rare moment with 5 major players of the film - George Miller, Riley Keough, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Hardy, and Charlize Theron. In a likely well-deserved break, the actors are taking some direction from George Miller who is always right in there with the rest of them.
Also, notably, we get a glimpse of how the crew had to dress to protect themselves from the elements. One crew member standing behind Hardy is fully covered, goggles and all, possibly preparing for a sandy scene to shoot.
Sometimes the scenes would go miles across the desert, causing massive clouds of sand to form. Mad Max: Fury Road may have been fictionally set in a wasteland, but the reality isn't far off.
2 Furiosa's big scene
Who could forget Furiosa's intensely emotional breakdown scene? For a movie titled Mad Max: Fury Road, the story really ends up revolving around Furiosa.
After all of her efforts to save the wives and bring them to the "green place," she is told that it no longer exists and very few women are left. At this news, in a climactic moment, Furiosa takes her mechanical arm off, drops to her knees, and lets out a scream that echoes through the desert.
It's a dramatic and raw scene that makes us all feel the fury - no pun intended - that Furiosa was experiencing.
1 Fight scene struggles
If for some reason you needed any more convincing that this film was physically exhausting to shoot, look no more. Here we have what may be Tom Hardy or may be his stunt double, embroiled in a fight with a warrior.
As for the man in the jacket? We're not sure, but he seems to be making sure that Hardy is about as uncomfortable as he can be before they get the shot.
This is a unique look behind the scenes where we can actually see what the camera man is seeing too.
It's also worth pointing out the face mask the cameraman is wearing. Was everyone coughing up sand for weeks after this or what?
What's your favorite part of Mad Max: Fury Road? Let us know in the comments!