While Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron wound up landing the two lead roles of Mad Max and Furiosa, a ton of huge Hollywood names were considered -- and the most interesting ones belong to Rihanna and Eminem.
Rihanna was considered for one of Immortan Joe's wives, as were Margot Robbie and Jennifer Lawrence. "Usually, actors turn up dressed very casually, but boy, Rihanna looked spectacular when she walked in," recalled director George Miller. "I'm not sure she was even aware of the content of the movie, so she dressed up as Rihanna, which was the right thing to do."
The roles eventually went to Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abby Lee and Courtney Eaton.
The filmmakers say Heath Ledger, Eric Bana, Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Renner, Joel Kinnaman and Armie Hammer were all considered for the titular role -- along with, most randomly, Eminem.
"See, that’s one of those wild-card things: There were always these people that George would see in popular culture, and he'd want to know more about this person," said production and development exec Petrina Hull.
"He'd done 8 Mile, and I found that really interesting — I thought, 'He's got that quality.' We'd done the first 'Happy Feet'with the late Brittany Murphy, and she had done '8 Mile,' so I asked her what he was like and would this be something really interesting for him?" recalled Miller. "She had no reservations about saying what a wonderful talent he is."
Miller said the two did speak about the project, but the fact that it was initially going to film in Australia made it a non-starter for the rapper, who apparently only seemed down to film it it out of his own state.
Though Hardy nearly bailed on his big audition, he eventually went through with it, reading opposite Kat Dennings for one of the sessions. The front-runners for Max were Renner and Hammer, with Hardy reading opposite Hammer at one point in the audition. According to Buchanan, Hardy spat at Hammer at one point -- and, with that, Hammer told Miller he had to cast Tom in the part.
As for Furiosa, Jessica Chastain, Ruth Negga and Gugu Mbatha Raw all read for the part, as did Gal Gadot -- who said she was the "runner-up" for the role. "I had so many almost for big, great things, but I was never big enough of a name," said Gadot, who Miller felt wasn't the right age for either the Wives or Furiosa, but somewhere between the two.
Theron eventually had a lunch with Miller, said she'd do anything for the role and was cast on the spot.