Charlize Theron might have played Tom Hardy’s driver in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but off-screen the duo had their own share of road rage.
In an “oral history” published by the New York Times on Tuesday, many of the actors, including Theron and Hardy, candidly reflected on the difficulties they encountered while making the 2015 George Miller-directed film.
“There was a lot of tension, and a lot of different personalities and clashes at times,” Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who played The Splendid Angharad in the film, told the outlet. “It was definitely interesting to sit in a truck for four months with Tom and Charlize, who have completely different approaches to their craft.”
Theron, 44, copped to not being understanding of Hardy, 42, and the pressures he might have felt taking over the iconic role.
“In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes. That is frightening!”
The Academy Award-winning actress continued, “And I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, ‘This is scary for you, and it’s scary for me, too. Let’s be nice to each other.’ In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival.”
Hardy shared Theron’s assessment.
“I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways,” the English-born actor said. “The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times.
“What she needed was a better, perhaps more experienced, partner in me. That’s something that can’t be faked. I’d like to think that now that I’m older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion.”
And, according to others on set, Theron wasn’t the only person that Hardy battled.
Zoë Kravitz, who portrayed Toast the Knowing, recalled that “Tom really had moments of frustration, of anger. Charlize did, too, but I feel like he’s the one who really took it out on George [Miller] the most, and that was a bummer to see.”
Kravitz added, “But you know, in some ways, you also can’t blame him because a lot was being asked of these actors and there were a lot of unanswered questions.”
Theron also admitted to having “complicated feelings” about her physically-demanding role in the movie because of trauma that her body remembers from making it. Meanwhile, Hardy noted the experience left him “irrevocably changed.”
“Mad Max: Fury Road” went on to earn $374 million in global box office sales and was nominated for 10 Oscars in 2016, picking up six statuettes for categories including production design, editing and costume design.