Once a film is made, it is difficult to imagine any other actor playing a role in it other than the ones we see onscreen. But Hollywood is full of stories of near misses in casting. Mad Max: Fury Road is widely considered an iconic action movie, with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in the lead. But in a fascinating case of what could have been, the movie's producer Doug Mitchell mentioned in an interview that Uma Thurman was considered for the role of Furiosa, while actor Zoe Kravitz remembers screen-testing opposite a certain Avenger in the role of Max.
"I did a chemistry test with Jeremy Renner reading for Max because they hadn't hired Tom yet."
Before cementing his status as Hawkeye in the MCU, Jemery Renner had established his reputation as someone who could handle action in addition to being an accomplished actor. He was chosen to replace Matt Damon in the Jason Bourne series, and appeared opposite Tom Cruise in the action-packed Mission Impossible franchise.
So it makes sense that Renner would be considered when it came to putting a new spin on the character of the gruff, grizzled, but ultimately good-hearted Max Rockatansky. And clearly, the studio believed in the actor enough to have him read with other actors for the part.
Meanwhile, casting Uma Thurman as Furiosa also makes sense, perhaps even more so than Theron's. Before Furiosa came to be seen as our generation's Sarah Connor, it was Thurman's vengeful bride in the Kill Bill series who established herself as a blood-soaked action movie icon. There were a lot of expectations for Thurman to do more work in the genre, and the role of Furiosa would have been a nice additional feather in her cap.
But the roles ultimately went to Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, and they rose to the occasion, despite the multitude of issues the cast and crew had while making the film. Since the entire story takes place in the 'apocalyptic' part of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the sets were made out in the middle of the desert, with brutal filming conditions and uncertainty on the part of the actors and technicians as to the exact nature of the vision that George Miller had for the movie.
But despite the hurdles, Mad Max: Fury Road went on to become a blockbuster and a critical darling in a manner that few action movies are able to accomplish. Tom Hardy was showered with praise for once again managing to act effectively onscreen despite having his mouth muzzled for long stretches and using the bare minimum of dialogs in other scenes.
Meanwhile, Theron as Furiosa proved so popular that the studio has already greenlit a prequel spinoff focusing on Furiosa's early days, with Anya Taylor-Joy rumored to be playing a younger version of the character. A fourth Mad Max movie is also said to be in the works with Hardy expected to return. This news first appeared at The New York Times.