mad max fury road feud

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy’s Conflict on Mad Max Set Feels Like the Result of One Person

A new book detailing the behind-the-scenes workings of 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road has brought to the attention of the masses the conflict between Charlize Theron (and the Wives) and Tom Hardy. Vanity Fair published an exclusive excerpt of Blood, Sweat and Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, detailing some of the “bad blood.”

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“At some stage, the Wives didn’t like Tom, and one day, they didn’t even disguise it,” P. J. Voeten, first assistant director, explained. “They were just yelling at each other in front of us.”

Screenwriter Kelly Marcel explained, “Tom is very physical and all over the place and would try very different things. Charlize is cerebral and very consistent in the way that she approaches a character. They’re both powerhouses, but in their very different ways of working. Which, weirdly, is why the film works: It’s all pouring out on the screen.”

One of the things that is interesting is the way they may attempt to make things seem equal when, frankly, it sounds like Hardy was unprofessional and taking his method up to eleven.

Samantha McGrady, who was the key second assistant director on Fury Road, said, “Charlize is the easiest person to deal with in terms of, Okay, we’re ready. Sometimes I would just call her and say, “We’re going to be ready in an hour,” and I knew she would always get in the car, get her makeup on, and get on set.”

In contrast, Matt Taylor, the stunt driver on Fury Road, said of Hardy that was “a larrikin and is late and very Method in his performances, just in sheer personality, there was always going to be a clash.”

Tom Clapham, production runner, backed this up: “Tom was more in his trailer a lot of the time and would come out for the takes—and sometimes not on time, either. You’re like, Come on, it’s midnight and we want to go home.”

Eventually, it came to blows, and the setup, if these details are correct, makes it sound like it was Hardy’s fault. The call to be on set was eight o’clock. Charlize got there on time and sat in the War Rig. Tom was given a special request to be there on time, but the book says he was known for never showing up on time in the morning. “If the call time was in the morning, forget it—he didn’t show up,” camera operator Mark Goellnicht said. Charlize sat in the Rig for waiting.

“If you ask me, he kind of knew that it was really pissing Charlize off, because she’s professional and she turns up really early,” Ricky Schamburg said.

At this time, Charlize was a new mother and all this time was time away from her kids.

“Eleven o’clock. She’s now in the War Rig, sitting there with her makeup on and a full costume for three hours. Tom turns up, and he walks casually across the desert. She jumps out of the War Rig, and she starts swearing her head off at him, saying, “Fine the fucking cunt a hundred thousand dollars for every minute that he’s held up this crew,” and “How disrespectful you are!” She was right. Full rant. She screams it out. It’s so loud, it’s so windy—he might’ve heard some of it, but he charged up to her up and went, “What did you say to me?”

He was quite aggressive. She really felt threatened, and that was the turning point, because then she said, “I want someone as protection.” She then had a producer that was assigned to be with her all the time.”

That doesn’t sound like it was a conflict between two equal parties. It sounds like Theron got fed up with his bad behavior and lashed out, while Hardy didn’t understand or care about the consequences of his actions.

Where to watch Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron Movies: Disney+, Apple TV+, Prime Video, Hulu

The book quotes Theron saying,

Looking back on where we are in the world now, given what happened between me and Tom, it would have been smart for us to bring a female producer in. You understand the needs of a director who wants to protect his set, but when push comes to shove and things get out of hand, you have to be able to think about that in a bigger sense. That’s where we could have done better, if George trusted that nobody was going to come and fuck with his vision but was just going to come and help mediate situations. I think he didn’t want any interference, and there were several weeks on that movie where I wouldn’t know what was going to come my way, and that’s not necessarily a nice thing to feel when you’re on your job. It was a little bit like walking on thin ice.

What was Hardy’s response to this?

“In hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways. The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times. What she needed was a better, perhaps more experienced partner in me. That’s something that can’t be faked. I’d like to think that now that I’m older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion.”

I feel for Theron because it feels like no one was looking out for and supporting her, which sucks and there is no excuse for it. I have always been a fan of Fury Road and was disappointed that Theron isn’t coming back for the prequel, but honestly, if this was the environment she was in, maybe it’s good that she is free of it.

(via Vanity Fair, image: Warner Bros.)

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