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Charlize Theron says she didn’t “feel safe” on ‘Mad Max’ after Tom Hardy feud

A new book explains how the pair did not get along on set

By Elizabeth Aubrey

Mad Max
'Mad Max: Fury Road' - CREDIT: Alamy

In a new book about the making of Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron says she didn’t “feel safe” following a feud with Tom Hardy on set.

The book, Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild And True Story Of Mad Max: Fury Road is written by New York Times columnist Kyle Buchanan and features interviews with cast and crew about the making of the 2015 film.

Hardy starred as the film’s title character, while Theron played Imperator Furiosa, a lieutenant to the villain Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne) who later turns against her boss to team-up with Max. 

In the oral history of the film recounted in the book, a stunt double on the set – Natascha Hopkins – recalled how Theron and Hardy did not get along on set. She remembered how Theron wanted to start scenes on time as she was balancing her work on the set with being a mother while Hardy would often arrive to set late.

Camera operator Mark Goellnicht meanwhile recalled one incident where Hardy was very late for shooting, which led to a row between the pair.

Goellnicht claimed that Theron, along with other cast and crew members, waited for hours on set for Hardy, despite making a “special request” for him to be on time. He said this led to a row between the pair, with Theron calling Hardy a “f***ing c***”.

“Gets to nine o’clock, still no Tom,” Goellnicht says in the book. “‘Charlize, do you want to get out of the War Rig and walk around, or do you want to . . .’ ‘No, I’m going to stay here.’ She was really going to make a point. She didn’t go to the bathroom, didn’t do anything. She just sat in the War Rig.”

He continued: “She jumps out of the War Rig, and she starts swearing her head off at him, saying, ‘Fine the f**king c*** a hundred thousand dollars for every minute that he’s held up this crew,’ and “How disrespectful you are!'”

“She was right. Full rant. She screams it out. It’s so loud, it’s so windy — he might’ve heard some of it, but he charged up to her up and went, ‘What did you say to me?’ He was quite aggressive.” 

In an extract published by Vanity Fair, members of the production team also claim Theron wanted “protection” against Hardy on set, as she didn’t feel safe on set following the feud.

“That was the turning point, because then she said, ‘I want someone as protection,’ Goellnicht added. “She then had a producer that was assigned to be with her all the time,” he explained.

Theron herself explained: “It got to a place where it was kind of out of hand, and there was a sense that maybe sending a woman producer down could maybe equalise some of it, because I didn’t feel safe.” She goes on to say she was “in survival mode”, adding that she was “really scared s***less.”

“I kind of put my foot down. [Director] George [Miller]…was open to it and that kind of made me breathe a little bit, because it felt like I would have another woman understanding what I was up against,” she continued.

Acknowledging his behaviour in the book, Hardy said he was “in over my head in many ways.”

He added: ‘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.”

Goellnicht went on to say Hardy and Theron understood one another more by the end of filming, saying Hardy was “a lot easier to deal with, a lot more cooperative, more compassionate. He’s such a Method actor that I think he took the arc in the literal sense.”