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Mad Max: Fury Road Almost Starred Eminem, George Miller Explains Why He Didn't Play The Tom Hardy Role

Eminem in 8 Mile
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Many movie fans revere Mad Max: Fury Road as one of the best films of the 2010s. The synergy between George Miller, the cast and the story resulted in a commercial and critical hit. Casting Tom Hardy as the title character was an amazing call on Miller and his crew’s part, but the part of Max Rockatansky almost went to rap music icon Eminem. As surprising as the news is, the Mad Max: Fury Road director explained what led to the rapper not playing the role.

The casting revelation became known from the behind-the-scenes book Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road. The excerpt from Vulture broke down all the A-listers vying for Max, including Michael Fassbender and the late Heath Ledger. As far as Eminem goes, George Miller became fascinated with the rap superstar after seeing his performance in 8 Mile and getting a glowing review from his co-star Brittany Murphy. According to storyboard artist Mark Sexton, things went as far as creating storyboards featuring a likeness of the rapper. However, one small detail kept Eminem from taking the role, according to the Mad Max director:

We did get in touch with him, though that’s as far as it went because we were going to shoot it 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.

Being close home seemed to be a priority for the multi-Grammy winner, as he was experiencing a career comeback and raising his daughters. So, his stance made sense but looking back at some of Eminem’s more controversial material involving women, it appeared the film dodged a bullet, according to Mark Sexton:

I’m kind of glad it didn’t happen. Eminem, really? Whole different bent there. And the feminist story behind Mad Max: Fury Road might have taken a bit of a hammering if he’d played the role.

Mark Sexton was right in assessment. The rapper’s misogynistic lyrics wouldn’t have gelled well with the female empowerment message of the 2015 action film. The move might’ve been viewed as hypocritical by some moviegoers and detractors. It would’ve undermined the message and may have turned off some viewers from seeing the film. As Sexton mentioned, Eminem as Max might’ve changed the subtext of the big-budget road film.

Thankfully, George Miller and his team went with Tom Hardy instead. While Hardy did an excellent job as Max, it couldn’t curtail the behind-the-scenes drama between him and co-star Charlize Theron. Their feud made life on set for the cast and crew difficult, as Theron's stunt double recalled her and Hardy's double having to play in scenes opposite the stars. Years later, the Venom: Let There Carnage star expressed regret over the on-set friction between him and Theron.

It appeared George Miller has moved on, as the Fury Road prequel Furiosa will feature Anya Taylor-Joy as a young Furiosa, with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke attached in unspecified roles. Taylor-Joy was just as excited to tackle the character as fans are to see Furiosa's story. Miller will direct, produce and co-write the spinoff film, so it might be a while before we see Hardy as Max again. If you want to revisit cool visuals, a stellar soundtrack and amazing cast, you can get an HBO Max subscription to watch Mad Max: Fury Road and plenty of other available HBO Max movies.

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