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The actor, who portrayed protagonist Max Rockatansky in the 2015 film, was competing for the lead role against Hammer when he got so into character that he gnashed his teeth and spat at his scene partner [via Vulture].
Hammer, who had emerged as a front-runner alongside Hardy and Jeremy Renner, told director George Miller that Hardy needed to play Max more than he did.
Audition cameraman Todd Matthew Grossman spoke in the forthcoming book Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road about Hardy’s presence. “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 said.
“[Hardy] 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.
Casting director Ronna Kress said: “After Tom auditioned, George [Miller] and I went into another room, and we had a long moment of quiet with each other. Then I said to George, ‘Is this the person that you can spend nine months in the desert with, telling this story? Is this the person that’s right for you?’
Miller added: “I had the same feeling about Tom that I had when Mel Gibson first walked into the room: There was 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.”
As for Hardy, he said of the experience: “I was excited to get the job. It’s such a big fish to land that the seesaw effect, the other side of that, was everybody loves Mel as Max and nobody’s gonna want me. So it’s like being the new boy at school and set up in some way for failure immediately.”
A sequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, called Mad Max: Wasteland, is in the works but has no release date yet.
A prequel titled Furiosa, which centres on the titular character (portrayed by Charlize Theron in the 2015 film) is due for release on May 24, 2024. It stars Anna Taylor-Joy in the lead role.
The film will be the fifth instalment in the Mad Max franchise, followed by Wasteland as sixth. It’s not yet clear if the May 2024 date is a worldwide or US release.