Of the Oscar-nominated films this year, few are set to as grand a scale as George Miller’s magnum opus, Mad Max: Fury Road. The summer blockbuster struck with the force of all 25 years of its gestation (at least a decade of which was spent in development hell after the screenplay was written) and is nominated in 10 categories including best director, best picture and best film editing. All that makes Maximum Fury, a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came to be, one hell of a show.
The mini-doc, which can be found in full on the film’s Blu-ray disc, starts where artist Peter Pound and co-writer Brendan McCarthy did — 3,500 panels’ worth of storyboarding that meticulously built a plot from Miller’s nebulous ideas. This storyboarding process took two years, not counting the work Miller had already done on the initial storyboard he began back in 1999. The director first pitched the film to his make-up artist, Lesley Vanderwalt (the film is also nominated for best hair and makeup), back in 2003. She claims to have been given “a mixture of comic book and storyboard with some explanation of what the characters were doing, very little dialogue and no scene numbers.”
In addition to relying heavily on Vanderwalt’s real (rather than digitized) makeup and costume work to depict the film’s wonderfully gruesome characters, Fury Road leaned hard on its crack team of choreographers and engineers, whose work the video zeroes in on, to whip up an inordinate amount of stunt work. Answers can be found to such questions as how to safely flip a car, explode a gasoline tanker and more. “None of it defies the laws of physics,” says a smug Miller.