‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: Director George Miller Shows Off Brutal New Footage at SXSW
Last night, following a very special screening of The Road Warrior at SXSW, director George Miller treated us to seven minutes of action-packed new footage from Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as an exclusive new trailer. The new footage was brutal and gorgeous, and gave us a nice taste of Charlize Theron’s intensely bad ass Imperator Furiosa.
After the end credits rolled on The Road Warrior (they really don’t make movies like that anymore), Miller came out for a Q&A. The director answered a couple of questions before revealing that he’d brought some Fury Road footage to show us, explaining that what we were about to see was a seven-minute scene from the beginning of the second act.
The footage opened with what Miller described as a “preamble,” featuring quick flashes of scenes from throughout the film — just little glimpses at huge action moments, like the epic chase sequence. When the second act opens, Max has been captured and dominated. Miller says he is like a “caged animal” and his frame of mind is “disturbed.” Tom Hardy is wearing a rusty metal mask over his face and finds himself chained to the lifeless body of Nicholas Hoult’s Nux, unable to free himself. Max attempts to use his sawed-off shotgun, but the bullets are dead and fizzle out, a callback to The Road Warrior, but one that Miller says was not intentional.
Max carries Nux’s body over his shoulders across the wasteland, until he encounters Furiosa near a big rig, where a trio of women dressed in all white — including one who is pregnant — are bathing themselves with the truck’s water supply. One of them removes a gnarly chastity belt contraption from her body, hinting that these women have been rescued from a life of servitude. Max points his useless gun at the women, demanding water and signaling for one of them to cut his chain. He requests one of the seemingly more docile women, immediately recognizing Furiosa as a threat.
That doesn’t stop Furiosa from launching into an attack at an opportune moment, and the two tumble around on the desert floor as Furiosa brutally assaults Max. The feel of water awakens Nux, who tries to assist his fellow prisoner as a rumble of engines is heard in the distance. Across the desert, through a haze, we see a line of vehicles approaching. One of the rescued women asks, “Is that the wind, or just a furious fixation?” The three women urgently attempt to wrangle Max using the chains to which he and Nux are still attached.
Furiosa loses her gun, and although Max snatches it, the clip has fallen out. Nux grabs it and Max slides the gun onto the clip in one fluid movement while still wrestling with Furiosa. As he gains the upper hand and Furiosa is pinned to the ground, he shoots three quick shots into the sand around her head, and the footage cuts to black.
Miller explained that he wanted to keep the authentic feel to the film’s characters, and like The Road Warrior, not only is there very little dialogue (Max doesn’t speak for the first 20 minutes), but there’s very little explanation of back story. The director says he has fully developed the characters and knows each of their individual stories, just as he has in previous films, but it’s a relief to hear that unlike with most contemporary films, there will be little exposition.
After answering a couple of questions from the audience, Miller revealed that he had cut an exclusive trailer for the fest (it will only play one more time at CinemaCon in Las Vegas). This trailer features much of the footage we’ve previously seen: the fiery tornado, Nux shouting “What a lovely day!” in hot pursuit, and the extended chase sequence involving a stable of vehicles with crazy attachments, including the truck with a stage and a guy shredding on his guitar. It’s incredible.
But the trailer also featured new footage and had far more dialogue then we’ve previously heard. There’s a scene in which Furiosa meets someone with her rig, offering them an exchange of 3,000 gallons of gasoline before revealing that the set-up is a trap. Max pops his head up and starts wheeling the truck around as a battle begins.
You guys are already plenty pumped for Mad Max: Fury Road, and after seeing this footage, I can tell you that your excitement is definitely not unwarranted. Theron and Hardy are absolutely brutal, and Miller recaptures the cinematic magic from The Road Warrior, making the special screening of that film entirely appropriate for the special footage that followed.