Cannes: 'Mad Max's' Tom Hardy Says He Owes Director George Miller An Apology

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Miller and his actors enjoyed a victory lap as the movie met with an enthusiastic reception.

When Tom Hardy finally saw the completed Mad Max: Fury Road, his first reaction was: “Oh, my God, I owe George an apology.”

Turning to director George Miller, seated beside him at Thursday’s Cannes press conference, he explained: “I have to apologize to you, because I got frustrated [during the movie’s shoot]. There was no way that George could have explained what he had conceived.”

Miller and Hardy, joined by the movie’s other stars Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult, might as well have been taking a victory lap as they answered questions from a press corps that had broken out in applause several times during the movie’s press screening a few hours earlier.

Miller, returning to the Mad Max franchise for the first time since Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985, admitted, "I never wanted to make another Mad Max, but the idea popped into my head and just wouldn’t go way, but I didn’t realize it would take 12 years."

The surprise in the latest installment in the series is that Hardy, taking over the role of the survive-at-all-costs Max that Mel Gibson originated, is matched by an equally commanding Charlize Theron, who plays the female road warrior, Imperator Furiosa, who’s trying to rescue five child-bearing women from warlord Immortan Joe.

"Initially, there wasn’t a feminist agenda," Miller insisted. Instead, the movie was simply designed to be an extended chase, and "the thing that people were chasing was to be not an object, but the five wives. I needed a warrior. But it couldn’t be a man taking five wives from another man. That’s an entirely different story. So everything grew out of that."

For her part, Theron said she was happy to take on a role that allowed her "to celebrate everything there is about being a woman, and not trying to put women on a pedestal, but being surrounded by other women in a story that was just real."

Margaret Sixel, who edited the film, spoke of the labors involved. Working from 450 hours of footage, it took 6,000 hours of editing to whittle the movie down to the two-hour film that’s currently rolling out around the world.

"Margaret is also my wife," Miller interjected. "She had never cut an action movie, and she said, ‘Why on earth would you want me to cut the movie,’ and I said, 'Because if it were the usual kind of guys, it would look like every other action movie you see,’ and she said, ‘My job here is to stop you from embarrassing yourself'."

While Cannes is presenting the movie in 2-D, Miller confessed he preferred the 3-D version saying, "if I had a chance, I’d see it in 3-D."

He also spoke of getting an enthusiastic thumbs-up from Gibson, who saw the film when it screened last week in Los Angeles. "It was kind of an emotional moment for me," Miller said, referring to Gibson’s past problems as he added: "I was heartbroken to see what was happening with Mel, because I’ve always known him to be a really good man."

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