Scale of Fury Road collaboration revealed in FX Guide interview
Since its theatrical release earlier this year, the Weta Workshop team has remained dutifully tight-lipped about the part they played in bringing Warner Bros. Pictures Mad Max: Fury Road to the screen. Now, in the wake of the film’s Blu-ray release, visual effects and post-production website FXGuide has interviewed Weta Workshop Creative Director and Co-founder Richard Taylor about the extent of his team’s design involvement in the critically acclaimed blockbuster, and the fruitful collaboration between Weta Workshop, Director George Miller and Australia-based production house Kennedy Miller Mitchell.
Included in the article is a behind-the-scenes video, Weta Workshop talks Fury Road. The video, featuring Richard and members of his design team, showcases just a fraction of the 673 concept designs for vehicles, make-ups and costumes Weta Workshop provided to help make this post-apocalyptic world a reality, including vehicle designs for Max’s Interceptor, the Gigahorse, and the iconic spike and skull festooned War Rig. The scale of their design involvement is testament to Weta Workshop’s ability to develop impressive, immersive, exciting worlds.
The team also completed costume and make-up research and development prototyping and testing for characters including The War Boys, Immortan Joe and ‘The Praetorian’ later, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). When it came to manufacture, 30 dummies for vehicle stunts and 113 different disease, scar and wound appliances were sent to set.
Weta Workshop commenced work on the project in April 2009. With conceptual design already underway in Sydney, Richard and his team headed over to meet George and Production Designer, Colin Gibson.
“Storyboards littered every corner of this huge boardroom. That was thrilling; to walk through all the sequences and start to understand how George was visualising the shooting of the film. But there was still a great deal yet to do, and it was a lovely thing to be able to join this already established team and start to offer our ideas.”
- Richard Taylor, Creative Director and Co-founder, Weta Workshop
Returning to New Zealand inspired, the design team, including Rik Athorne, Christian Pearce, Leri Greer, Stu Thomas, Adam Anderson, Aaron Beck and Greg Broadmore, got to work pouring crazy concepts for cars, costumes, characters and environments into the world. “We’re all bogans at heart,” jokes Christian. “George fed that bogansim. Many of the things we’d usually shy away from, George encouraged. Are you sure you want it covered in spikes and skulls? And he’d be like, more skulls, more spikes. And when we saw the final film we were all like, you know what, he’s right!”
Richard also talks fondly about the film’s theatrical release. “The whole crew came together to watch what I think is a near perfect movie. I was punching the air at times in excitement at seeing what George and the team had created. I found that couple of years that we were working on the film inspiring because of the time George spent sharing his philosophical views on creativity and filmmaking with me and our team. We’re all better for it because of the time he gave us.”