George Miller, the Australian director who established himself in the world with his masterpiece aka the madmax The franchise had once given up hope of seeing its dreams come to fruition. The 77-year-old filmmaker had put his faith in something as hostile and dark as his own dystopian creation and with a budget as sterile and lacking as the landscape of road of fury. And yet Miller managed to deliver the greatest dystopian sci-fi action movie of all time, a status still reserved for madmax and its sequels, to date.
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George Miller’s loss of faith on the sets of madmax
The desert landscape of madmax which stretches for eerie miles may not be a familiar sight to some, but the film has an almost ubiquitous sound. Those who haven’t watched it have surely heard of it due to the abundant literature and movies that mention it as a pop culture reference. Yet at the time of its conception, the film was inflicting boundless disappointment on its director due to the constraints imposed by a paltry $350,000 budget.
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Miller’s film was not financed by production houses, instead the budget was the total of what he was sponsored with by his friends and family, and it was conditional on being repaid with interest. . The pent-up pressures of expectations coupled with his own impossible ambition weighed on the director and yet he kept going until the rolls of film hit the cutting room floor.
“The movie was a complete disaster for me in terms of what I wanted to do… My partner, Byron Kennedy, and I had raised a pretty meager budget from our closest friends at school. So there was a obligation to give them their money back… We had no money for an editor, so I edited the film myself for a year, and every day for a year I was confronted with the obvious what I hadn’t done, what I hadn’t managed to do. Why did I put the camera there? Why didn’t I ask the actors to go faster?
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The disappointments following Miller’s cult classic
madmax and its aftermath, in particular the multiple awards Mad Max: Fury Road, were groundbreaking in many ways, but mostly because Miller had dared to dream. He had claimed that his vision of madmax has been “a silent film with sound” and its equally talented screenwriter, James McCausland, found inspiration for the film’s elements from his observations of the effects of the 1973 oil crisis on Australian motorists. Miller, on the other hand, implemented the footage of death he witnessed while living in the emergency room of a Sydney hospital in the production of the film.
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The primal human savagery of the dystopia may have struck too close to home, and George Miller later decided that a dark futuristic setting would make the bitter pill of his film’s plot easier for audiences to swallow. All of this just tells what part of the story there was that Miller felt he gave up or failed to tell in the end. The broad brushstrokes were all there in madmax, but in his vision, the full picture was missing. The director faced a similar conundrum during his time on the sets of road of furyand despite winning six Oscars, the lingering disappointment remains from the film that started it all.
Source: The Guardian