The process of making George Miller’s 2015 blockbuster is the subject of a new book titled Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road by New York Times journalist Kyle Buchanan.
In an excerpt published by Vulture, Buchanan reveals that it was Hardy, Hammer and Marvel star Jeremy Renner who were in contention for the lead role of Max Rockatansky.
The exhaustive casting process also included Michael Fassbender, Joel Kinnaman, Heath Ledger, and Eric Bana.
“Near the end of the process, Hardy emerged as a front-runner alongside Jeremy Renner and Armie Hammer,” Buchanan writes.
“Hardy and Hammer even read together as part of their audition, and when Hardy gnashed his teeth and spat at his scene partner, Hammer told Miller that Hardy needed to be Max more than he did.”
A cameraman at the audition, Todd Matthew Grossman, told Buchanan: “Jeremy and Armie were equally wonderful, but there was something about Tom in the room where it felt like that was Max, without a doubt.
“He had that kind of suppressed emotional dryness that you’d find in a post-apocalypse and, buried underneath it, disdain for the world. There was this intensity that burned through the lens.”
Director Miller added that he “had the same feeling about Tom” that he had when “[original Mad Max star] Mel Gibson first walked into the room”.
“There was a a kind of edgy charm, the charisma of animals. You don’t know what’s going on in their inner depths, and yet they’re enormously attractive,” said Miller, who directed the 1979 original starring Gibson as well as the 2015 film starring Hardy.
The Independent has contacted representatives for Hardy and Hammer for comment.
Miller also said that he had been interested in casting Eminem in the lead role long before Hardy entered the audition process.
The filmmaker said that he had spoken to Eminem’s 8 Mile co-star, the late Brittany Murphy about potentially casting the rapper and that “she had no reservations about saying what a wonderful talent he is”.
Miller said that reached out to Eminem but “that’s as far as it went because we were going to shoot in Australia at that point, and he simply didn’t want to leave home”.
“I think he had the impression that if he could do it out of his home state, then he’d be up for it.”
Mad Max: Fury Road was shot primarily in Namibia, with filming also taking place at studios in South Africa and Sydney.
The film – starring Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult – was a hit among fans and critics.
A prequel film, titled Furiosa and starring Anya Taylor-Joy, is set for release in May 2024.