Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are addressing their Mad Max: Fury Road on-set feud for the first time after years of speculation

By Alexia Fernandez
May 12, 2020 09:15 PM
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road
Warner Bros. Pictures

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are finally breaking their silence about their feud on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road.

The two stars spoke about the struggle of making the instant 2015 action classic in an oral history about the film published in The New York Times on Tuesday.

Theron, 44, revealed she and Hardy, 42, butted heads mainly due to the challenges of filming George Miller's masterpiece and the constant delays in production (filming was shut down three times).

"In retrospect, I didn't have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson's shoes," Theron said of Hardy. "That is frightening!"

Gibson, 64, had previously starred as Max in the first three of Miller’s films: Mad Max (1979), Mad Max 2 (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).

Theron recalled being afraid of the production after a series of false starts in production, and an unusual script (Miller directed the film from storyboards instead of an actual script).

"I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, 'This is scary for you and it's scary for me, too. Let's be nice to each other,'" said Theron. "In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival."

She continued, "The biggest thing that was driving that entire production was fear. I was incredibly scared because I’d never done anything like it. I think the hardest thing between me and George is that he had the movie in his head and I was so desperate to understand it."

For his part, Hardy said he "would agree" with Theron's assessment of the high stakes and the pressure the actors in the film faced.

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways. The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times," he told the Times. "What [Theron] 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."

He continued, "Because of how much detail we were having to process and how little control one had in each new situation, and how fast the takes were — tiny snippets of story moments were needed to make the final cut work — we moved fast, and it was at times overwhelming. One had to trust that the bigger picture was being held together."

His final take away from the film was Theron's performance as the fierce Furiosa, saying, "Charlize arguably laid down the finest lead character in an action movie, and that credit is much deserved, in my opinion; both to her as a phenomenal talent and also to George for recognizing from the very start that it was time to pass Mel’s shoes onto Furiosa."

Hardy publicly apologized to Miller at a news conference for the film at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015.

"There is no way George could’ve explained what he could see in the sand when we were out there," the actor said at the time. "I knew he was brilliant, but I didn’t quite know how brilliant."

In March, Variety reported Miller was meeting with actresses for a Furiosa spin-off, which the publication said he aimed to shoot in 2021.

Miller has previously spoken about filming more stories in the franchise, telling The Wrap in January 2016 he had “two more stories.”