Designing Characters and Sounds for Fury Road

For costume designer Jenny Beavan and the makeup & hairstyling team of Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin, the journey of Mad Max: Fury Road was all about figuring out a day in the life of the wasteland survivors: Max (Tom Hardy), Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his wives, and the War Boys.

Beavan looked at George Miller’s graphic novel and early concepts, which had an S&M look, and made the costume design more masculine. She also found inspiration in Namibia, where they shot Miller’s post-apocalyptic return. The African ethos of recycling and re-purposing became important to the aesthetic, where dressing for necessity took precedence. And Miller stressed finding beauty in the ordinary objects that get thrown away.

“They do it extraordinarily, from the beautiful animals they make out of old Coke cans and the things they do with wires and coat hangers and beads,” Beavan explained. “Everybody wore bits and pieces to keep them alive. Furiosa, with a prosthetic arm and a harness, needed something to base it on. I originally gave her a jacket but that was discarded because she didn’t have the freedom to take it on and off.”

The makeup and hairstyling for the War Boys were based on the looks of various tribes. “We all talked about what these people would do with their days and weeks, what they would have available to them,” added Vanderwalt.

The War Boys liked to paint their skin white and etch parts of their cars into their skin and Nux (Nicholas Hoult) has a V-8 engine drawing scarified on his chest, as well as scars on his face and lips. “He also had beautiful scarifications on his teeth to make them look like skulls because they’re all dying and they knew they only had half a life,” recalled Wardega. “So they weren’t totally attached to the world, which is why they could go ahead and do the kamikaze spray paint to kill themselves for the cause.”

Sound editor Mark Mangini revealed that that the sonic design was always character-driven. “In the opening, Max jumps into his Ford Intrepid, drives off into the distance, and, as he comes toward camera, they blow it up and then he rolls over and gets out of the car. There’s a very subtle beat that is the sound of the Intrepid. The sound team chose to make that a spluttery, de-tuned engine specifically to convey how down on his luck Max is.”

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Costume, Crafts, Makeup/Hair, Movies, Sound

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