Mad Max: Fury Road came out seven years ago (which is crazy to me, what is time?), and it’s hard to imagine anyone besides Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron playing Max and Furiosa respectively. A new oral history about the making of the movie, however, reveals that director George Miller considered lots of actors for Max, not least of whom was Eminem.
A new book, Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, recounts the year-long casting process for Max. The names that Miller and the casting director Ronna Kress considered included Armie Hammer, Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Renner, Joel Kinnaman, Eric Bana, and Sam Worthington.
Miller’s initial preferred choice, however, was Heath Ledger. “Every time he’d come through Sydney, he’d pop in and we’d talk generally about things and then we started to talk about Mad Max,” Miller shared. “We lost him, which was such a pity — not for Mad Max but because he was an exceptional person. He had a very powerful sense of inquiry and was amazingly humble.”
Another unexpected candidate Miller considered was Eminem. “He’d done 8 Mile, and I found that really interesting,” Miller explained, defending his choice. “I thought, ‘He’s got that quality.’ 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.”
Eminem ultimately didn’t work out because the actor-rapper didn’t want to leave Michigan to shoot in Australia. The actor who finally landed the part, of course, was relative newcomer at the time, Tom Hardy. “Tom has this amazing duality as a man: He’s got this incredible physical presence that is so scary and mean and masculine, but then he’s supersoft and feminine and delicate at times, which is a unique combination for a guy who looks like that,” explained Lora Kennedy, who was head of Warner Bros. casting at the time.
As for Furiosa, Theron landed the part without evening having to audition, though Gal Gadot was apparently the runner-up. What would Mad Max: Fury Road look like with Eminem as Max and Gal Gadot as Furiosa? It’s hard to speculate, but it’s safe to say that that version of the movie would be a very different film.
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