The year was 2015. A year in cinema that saw one of the greatest actions films ever made delivered to cinemas with George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. The fourth installment in Miller’s Mad Max franchise was an experience like no other. A two-hour bonanza filled with thrilling car chase sequences, memorable characters, and a cinematic world unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Layered into this spectacle were social and political messages on climate change, warmongering, hoarding nature resources, and the power of feminism, all the while sharing the screen with a guy playing an electric guitar on top of a moving vehicle with flames coming out.
With stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron leading the charge in front of the camera, Miller and company gave the world an entertaining achievement that was not only loved by audiences and critics around the world and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with ten nominations and six wins, but it is almost a film may consider one of the best films of the last decade, some even going as far as to say of all time.
But the journey to the big screen is a story within itself, as there were twenty years of obstacles in pre-production, on-set, and even leading up to the test screenings for the final cut of the film. This is all documented in the new book by Kyle Buchanan, Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road. Over the course of the book, we are told the history of this film struggles, leaving no stone unturned in terms of information about how hard it was for Miller to get this made, the monumental task of recasting the iconic Mad Max character, the extensive production that resulted into a behind the screen feud between the two leading stars of the picture, the constant fight to keep Miller’s version Fury Road his and only his, the legacy of this film and even a tease at the future of the franchise.
Buchanan, known for being a pop culture, awards season reporter (The Projectionist is his Oscar column) for The New York Times, former the senior editor at Vulture, makes an engrossing, stellar debut novel filled with loads of honesty and passion for Miller’s action epic. In taking in dozens of accounts from people involved with the project, along with mixing in talent within the industry, film historians, and journalists, he crafts a must read for any self-proclaimed cinephile.
In our audio conversation, we talked about his first experience with seeing the film, when he knew he wanted to make this book, what he learned about director George Miller and actress Charlize Theron, why the Academy went for the film, and what the future of the Mad Max series looks like. We thank Kyle for his time and implore everyone, once they are done listening to the interview, to go purchase his book. You won’t regret it.
Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road is available in stores and online wherever books are sold.