Inside the 'Fury Road' Premiere With Tom Hardy, Mel Gibson and Lisa Marie Presley

“I guess you could call it an analog movie,” said George Miller, the 70-year-old Australian mastermind behind the big-budget production.
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Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie filled with expansive desert vistas in which water is more precious than gold. So there was a trace of irony that a rain shower hit during Warner Bros.’ Thursday premiere in Hollywood.

And even as California fights its own drought, not everyone who attended the Chinese Theatre screening and the after-party, held in a giant tented parking lot decorated in Fury Road’s post-apocalyptic metal grunge, was thrilled with the rain.

Said Victoria's Secret model-turned-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: “I’m not happy it rained; I moved to California for reason: The weather.” (Who could blame her? She was wearing a Rodarte top and skirt with Christian Louboutin shoes, after all.)

The weather aside, the mood was jubilant at the affair, which featured skinheads swinging on poles in faux-menace in a nod to the movie, and a live band thrashing eerie metal music.

Many were agog at what they had seen. It was an action movie that took viewers on a ride with little dialogue but full of giant, elaborate action sequences that felt like something exceedingly rare these days: real.

“I guess you could call it an analog movie,” said George Miller, the 70-year old Australian mastermind behind the big-budget production.

Miller has directed the previous three Mad Max movies dating back to 1979, when the first movie turned Mel Gibson into a star.

(Gibson made a surprise appearance at the premiere, walking the black carpet with Miller and Tom Hardy, who inhabits the character in the new film. Gibson also sat next to Miller during the screening, and Miller said the actor was chuckling throughout and occasionally asking the filmmaker about certain young actors on the screen.)

The road to Fury Road is almost legendary, as the movie suffered rains, shifted continents, and changed actors, before enduring a seven month shoot in the 120 degree heat of Namibia’s deserts, using over 200 real cars. All in the service of a story which sees Max team up with a woman named Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to save a harem of wives from a vicious leader of a human outpost.

Miller’s biggest challenge during the movie’s 13 year journey? “Safety. Going out there for a 130 days, and every day was a big stunt day. And the fatigue set in, and the heat, the dust, the cold — that was the biggest issue. In the pit of your stomach, you know that if you’re not on it today, all of us, something could go badly wrong.”

Huntington-Whitely, who played one of the wives, said spending months in the desert, in one location, was tough on her since she was used to the nomadic life of a model: “To sit in one place for six months, I haven’t done that since I was a kid in school.”

“We got drunk and played Jenga,” said Riley Keough, who plays another one of the wives.

Maybe because Mother’s Day is this Sunday, but the premiere was a maternal affair, with many bringing their moms. Keough came with her mother and grandmother, Lisa Marie Presley and Priscilla Presley respectively (yes, she is Elvis’ granddaughter), while Zoe Kravitz brought her mother, Lisa Bonet (who arrived with husband and upcoming Aquaman actor Jason Momoa).

Nicholas Hoult, playing a breakout characer of a mad optimist in a bleak world, also brought his mother and spent the day before trying giving her fashion advice. “They look after you, give you the chance to do something like this, you have to pay them back,” he said in between sips from a Tequila sour.

The movie brought out filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams and Edgar Wright and producers such as Andrew Lazar (American Sniper) and Roy Lee (Lego Movie), who were all eager to check out what the buzz was about.

When Miller heard that whippersnappers Abrams and Wright were in attendance and that it was Wright’s third time seeing the movie, the 70-year-old beamed. “It makes me feel good,” he said, also mentioning that he doesn’t feel as old as his number suggest and that he never wants to give up on films.

“If I’m that guy sitting in the nursing home staring at the ceiling, you can bet I’ll be playing some movie in my head," he said.

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