Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy recall their falling out on the set of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Ben Arnold
Hardy and Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road (Credit: Warner Bros)

Famously, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy didn't get on famously while making dystopian epic Mad Max: Fury Road.

And thanks to new interviews with the stars, and with director George Miller, in The New York Times, there's now more background to the tumultuous shoot.

Theron played the Imperator Furiosa, a battle-scarred warlord under the maniacal Immortan Joe in an apocalyptic wasteland sometime in the future.

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But she turns on him, and with his harem of concubines, escapes his clutches, meeting Tom Hardy's Max (taking on the role made famous by Mel Gibson) on the road, who joins their band of escapees.

Shooting in Namibia, its action set-pieces were eye-popping and visceral (director Steven Soderbergh later musing 'I don’t understand how hundreds of people aren’t dead'), but so was the atmosphere on set.

From left, director George Miller, actors Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy and Nicholas Hoult pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Mad Max: Fury Road, at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who played The Splendid Angharad, explains: “There was a lot of tension, and a lot of different personalities and clashes at times. It was definitely interesting to sit in a truck for four months with Tom and Charlize, who have completely different approaches to their craft.”

Hardy added: “I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways. 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.”

“I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, ‘This is scary for you, and it’s scary for me, too. Let’s be nice to each other.’ In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival,” says Theron.

Margaret Sixel ,Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, director George Miller, Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, from left to right pose for photographers for the screening of the film Mad Max: Fury Road at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

“In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes. That is frightening!”

Zoe Kravitz, meanwhile, who played Toast the Knowing, adds that Hardy made director Miller the brunt of his frustration, describing how he 'really took it out on George the most, and that was a bummer to see. In some ways, you also can’t blame him, because a lot was being asked of these actors and there were a lot of unanswered questions'.

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Theron has previously broached the spat in past interviews.

She told Esquire in 2015: “We drove each other crazy, but I think we have respect for each other, and that’s the difference… there’s a real beauty to that kind of relationship.”

Last year, it emerged that a long-planned sequel is still in the offing, with Miller keen to return to the road, telling Deadline that he's 'in preparation'.

It also emerged last month that Miller has reportedly met with The Witch actress Anya Taylor-Joy about a potential Furiousa spin-off.