CHARLIZE THERON (LEFT) AND GEORGE MILLER ON THE SET OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES’ AND VILLAGE ROADSHOW PICTURES’ MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. PHOTO BY JASIN BOLAND.
George Miller’s post-apocalyptic wasteland in the Mad Max movies is among the most richly imagined and cinematically intriguing worlds we’ve ever seen on the screen (not to mention the most satisfyingly dismissive of backstory—Where and how did Imperator Furiosa lose her arm? Nevermind! Speed up!). Miller’s original Max films from the ’80s, which were made for next-to-nothing in the Australian outback, became international hits. Last year’s Fury Road, made 30 years after the third installment, Beyond Thunderdome, was at the vanguard of big budget spectacle, and is deservedly amassing strong support going into this year’s awards season. Miller’s vision is dark, one of a world killed by consumption, fear, and greed, a world given over to medieval horrors of disease, scarcity of resources, and the consolidation of power—even though the filmmaker (and former doctor) himself is comfortingly optimistic about humanity. On a brief visit to New York, Miller took some time to talk about his own search for The Green Place, about the Hippocratic Oath of a filmmaker, and the very first “Sexiest Man Alive.”