Nicholas Hoult was born four years after the third “Mad Max” film hit theaters in 1985, but that didn’t mean he missed out on the lasting influence of the adrenaline-fueled, post-apocalyptic saga.
“All these films I’ve seen, I suddenly saw where their ideas came from or where it all sprung from – the brilliant mind of George Miller,” he said.
Hoult, 25, talked to Reuters about the intensity of playing War Boy Nux in Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” out in U.S. theaters on Friday. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Q: The War Boys are willing to die for their leader. How did you connect with that mentality?
A: There was this interesting process behind the scenes, with Hugh Keays-Byrne who plays (leader) Immortan Joe. There would be about 150 stunt guys and there was a training center and gym where everyone would do group sessions where they would learn and feel what it meant to be a War Boy in that time. Hugh would come along and be the leader and he’d repeat nursery rhymes and everyone would chant with him and it became a little bit of this odd cult thing.
You’re thrust into this environment which is really immersive, then it kind of makes it easy to believe all those things.
Q: It’s almost as if you were brainwashed.
A: I got brainwashed. That’s what I’m trying to say.
Q: How does “Mad Max” continue to resonate with today’s world?
A: When I watched the films three or four years ago, I was amazed by how relevant they still were and how they stood the test of time. For this film, I think to introduce a new audience to that world, it’s going to be remarkable. A lot of big films nowadays are quite generic in a way, they don’t take a lot of risks.
(In this film) there are characters that aren’t archetypal characters of what you’re used to seeing in film. They are not all good or bad or black or white, it’s this mix of humanity trying to survive in extreme conditions, and through that, some really visually stunning action.
Q: Describe working with Tom Hardy, who plays ‘Mad Max’ Rockatansky, in three words.
A: Odd. Inspiring. Entertaining. Those aren’t necessarily the three words in hindsight that I would have selected, but they’re what came out of my mouth in the moment.