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Movie fans love good movie rumors. While we all get to see what happens in the final product of any film, the process of making that movie is something very few get to experience. Getting a peek behind the curtain, at the decisions that made good movies great or made bad movies awful is certainly exciting. However, quite frequently, the rumors don't turn out to be quite as juicy or exciting as the reality. This is apparently the case with one of the more interesting rumors surrounding Mad Max: Fury Road, the idea that the movie never actually had a screenplay. George Miller, who co-wrote the film says it absolutely did.
The screenplay of Mad Max: Fury Road is officially credited to three people, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris, and George Miller who also directed the picture. Last weekend, in a series of mostly now-deleted tweets, McCarthy took issue with the long-running rumor that the film had no script. And now George Miller has backed up those words to Indiewire, saying that, if there had never been a script, there would have been nothing to use to get everybody necessary onboard the project. According to Miller...
I’m not sure how the notion that Fury Road had no script came about. I suppose it’s because of the room lined with storyboards. Of course there was a script! How else could we have presented the project to a studio, cast and crew to elicit their interest?
It's unclear exactly where the "there was no script" rumor got started, though in one of Brendan McCarthy's now-deleted tweets, he laid the blame at the feet of George Miller himself. The rumor likely became more popular when it was addressed a couple of years back by the Just Write Youtube Channel. It's a great deep dive into what makes the film so good. Give it a watch.
The general thesis of the argument is that because so much of the storytelling is done through worldbuilding and action, that a traditional screenplay structure simply wouldn't have worked. And that's probably still true. While there may have been a screenplay, it doesn't mean it looked the way we would normally expect one to look, it was quite likely a very different sort of document.
At the end of the day, there are three people credited with writing a screenplay for Mad Max: Fury Road, and who gets those credits is something that isn't taken lightly. There would have had to have been a screenplay, for the Writers' Guild of America to look at in order to see who contributed to it.
The idea that Mad Max: Fury Road didn't have a script is, of course, so much more interesting. That such a remarkable film was made at all is already impressive, the idea that it was done in such a non-traditional way just makes the movie feel that much more mythical. But real people worked to make Fury Road the movie it was, and all of them deserve their proper credit.