Tom Hardy reportedly spat at then-competitor Armie Hammer during an audition for Mad Max: Fury Road. Released in 2015, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road was a hit with both critics and audiences, currently sitting at a lofty 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. While the film spent almost two decades in development hell and technically underperformed at the box office, a prequel, Furiosa, is currently in the early stages of production with Anya Taylor-Joy taking over from Charlize Theron to play a younger version of the titular heroine.
Although, in many ways, Furiosa stole the show in Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy’s performance as Max Rockatansky also received a good deal of praise. Coming off of supporting roles in the likes of Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, and Lawless, Hardy gives the character of Max an intense physicality and ultimately is able to convey a lot of emotion while saying very few lines in the final film. Before Hardy won the lead role in Mad Max, it had previously been reported that several other actors had been in the running, including Jeremy Renner and Channing Tatum.
In Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road (per Vulture), author Kyle Buchanan reveals Hammer was also in the running for the lead role. With the three finalists having been whittled down to Hardy, Hammer, and Renner, Miller had Hardy and Hammer read a scene together. Hardy reportedly “gnashed his teeth and spat at his scene partner,” which resulted in Hammer telling Miller that “Hardy needed to be Max more than he did.”
The claim in the book certainly makes it sound as if Hardy was able to exhibit these intense animalistic qualities during his audition that ultimately gave him the edge over both Renner and Hammer. While being spat on certainly couldn’t have been pleasant, it seems that the behavior opened Hammer’s eyes to the fact that Hardy would be better for Mad Max’s lead role than he would be, a realization that fans are most likely thankful for considering the movie’s acclaim.
While either Renner or Hammer likely would have been adequate in the role, considering both are accomplished actors, Hardy clearly had an intensity that his two competitors did not. His intensity is on full display in the movie, with Max having an animalistic survival instinct that gets him out of trouble on multiple occasions. With Hammer also being the subject of some unsavory allegations as of late, Hardy definitely proved to have been the right choice in the end. Hopefully, in Furiosa, Taylor-Joy demonstrates that Miller still has that same good eye for casting as he did in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Source: Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road (per Vulture)
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