George Miller Talks ‘Mad Max,’ His Failed ‘Justice League’ Movie and Stanley Kubrick Friendship

By February 3, 2016

The Hollywood Reporter just published an amazing interview with Mad Max Fury Road director George Miller, part of their awards series they have going with this being one of the best. Dubbed The Hollywood Masters THR really went to intimate places with Miller, uncovering all sorts of inside stories based on his friendships and projects he’s done over the years.

This interview runs the gamut through  some of his more interesting adventures and stories in Hollywood – all the way to, particularly, one of the most fascinating of friendships – that being the relationship he had with Stanley Kubrick.

Miller says he held a number of private conversations with Stanley Kubrick while making his 1995 movie Babe. Miller had tried to enlist the Clockwork Orange filmmaker to help develop digital technology; after that, they became regular telephone pals and talked “about everything.

Every night, we’d sit and talk for a long, long time, and talk about the process and I knew he was very, very intrigued about what could be happening. He told me how he had readers who were reading for him that never knew it was [for] Stanley Kubrick. So if he heard of a novel, he would send it out to … housewives and barristers and all sorts of people. I said, ‘How many people are doing this?’ It was about 30 people.”

Despite their many conversations, the two never met. “His daughter, who was pregnant, gave birth to a child a day or two before [the meeting],” said Miller. “And he had to go down to London.”

And what’s interesting is how this all started, seeing as it did start with Miller contacting Kubrick about a “talking pig.”

Here’s how it all began:

I explained we’re trying to make a pig talk. He was particularly caught up with the technology of not cutting on videotape. But he was one of those people who just kind of sucked in the world by conversations.

In the end, I find it tragic in a way – that he never got to meet Kubrick in person. Like it’s the type of story Hollywood would write – “When George Met Stanley” or some variation. Just another example of how surprising these relationships can be.

Since this all initially started with a mention of Babe, the interview then turned to Mad Max Fury Road asking how he could make kid-friendly movies and then make something like Mad Max? Miller states,

Ah gee, even my mother asked me that. She saw Fury Road and she said, ‘George, I sort of get Happy Feet.’ She said exactly that: ‘Where does it come from?’ I guess it’s a number of things. I think storytelling, and storytelling through cinema. I’m really, really interested in film language. And I like playing with the tools. Most of all it’s the storytelling, [and] to the extent that they’re kinetic or violent, they are moving pictures. I know that the very first Mad Max was processing the kind of experience I had in hospitals, working as a doctor.

And what most geeks out there want to know… the all powerful “What if” about Justice League; the scrapped superhero team up Miller was already way into preproduction on… So far into preproduction there was a script, actors, costumes, and they were in Australia ready to shoot.

Here, Miller recounts some details – after conveniently dodging the interviewer asking if he was contacted for Man of Steel 2. I guess we’ll never know, really. But for JL, he states:

Justice League was the main one. That was, oh, seven years ago, I think. And there was a really great script. And Warners said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s do a Justice League.’ I really was attracted to it. But there was a writers strike looming. We had to cast it very quickly, which we did with Warner’s casting people. And we cast it really quickly and we mounted it very quickly. And it depended on a start date and it depended on some basic rebate legislation that had just got through a new Australian government. But it was just too big a decision for them to make in the time. And that fell through and the whole film fell through. We almost got there. And it wasn’t to be. But that happens a lot, where films line up and the stars look like they’re aligning and they didn’t.

And then, Miller traveled back to when he was making The Witches of Eastwick and his relationship with Jack Nicholson; who gave Miller a bit of advice on how to handle certain people:

That was really interesting. And I was always seen as being very polite. And they mistake politeness for weakness. That’s what Jack told me. He said, ‘Be careful. They mistake your politeness for weakness.’ And he said, ‘You’ve got to make them think you’re a little bit crazy.’

I have only scratched the surface with this one. It’s a long interview with tons of backstory about Miller, his life and his projects. I’ve only cherry-picked the best parts for the article. For the film lovers out there, head on over to The Hollywood Reporter to read the full transcript.

And as always, make sure you check back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Mark Reilly
Born a geek a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - Tustin, CA - Reilly is a seasoned writer and producer with over twenty years experience in the film industry. He is the co-host of 'Far, Far Away' here on GeekNation as well as 'Meet the Movie Press' on the Popcorn Talk Network; which airs live every Friday morning at 9am pst. Tweet him at @Reillyaround