The Korea Herald


‘Mad Max’ mastermind George Miller says audience ‘completes’ his storytelling

79-year-old auteur mentions meeting with director Bong Joon-ho

By Kim Da-sol

Published : April 15, 2024 - 16:49

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“Furiosa: Mad Max Saga” director George Miller speaks during a press conference held in Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap) “Furiosa: Mad Max Saga” director George Miller speaks during a press conference held in Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)

For “Furiosa: Mad Max Saga” director George Miller, the audience is what completes his storytelling.

The Australian director was in Seoul on Monday to promote the fifth installment of his dystopian “Mad Max” franchise, which began in 1979.

“Furiosa: Mad Max Saga,” a spin-off of Oscar-winning “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015), tells the story of young Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her vengeful journey back home to find warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth).

While the movie will make its world premiere at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in May, a 25-minute preview was revealed for the first time to Korean reporters on Monday. The movie distributor Warner Bros. briefly introduced the film at CinemaCon 2024 in Las Vegas last week.

“I know a lot about Korea through cinemas. I’m really struck by how audiences here are ‘cineliterate,’” Miller told reporters following the screening of the footage at CGV Yongsan in Seoul,

“Trying to understand why (audiences here are cineliterate), you have more film festivals (in Korea) than in any other place in the world. Film festivals are really significant (because people) start to discuss (movies),” he said.

Miller said the storytelling of the “Mad Max” franchise is only completed through the audience.

“The story starts when you write the screenplay, and you invite other people to make the film. Then the story is through the distribution and the marketing and so on. But it’s not that the story is finished there. The story is then handed to the audience to be continued,” he told reporters.

“For a filmmaker, (filmmaking) is an unknown experience. You do your best, craft it with whatever wisdom you have, and it’s ultimately the audience who tells whether the story is good or not,” Miller said, quoting an old Swahili saying: If the story is bad, it’s my fault because I’m the storyteller, and if it’s good, it belongs to everybody.

“Furiosa: Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.) “Furiosa: Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.)

Expressing his excitement about the Cannes premiere, he also mentioned a pleasant exchange with Korean auteur director Bong Joon-ho at the film festival years ago.

“Talking to other filmmakers is exciting because you can find out what’s underneath the other’s experience. … That sort of interchange, particularly with someone accomplished and knowledgeable, is a pleasurable learning process,” he said, adding that the two saw each other again in Australia when Bong was there for the promotion of “Parasite.”

On Sunday, Miller and Bong held a special screening where Bong interviewed Miller about the movie, according to Warner Bros.

The 79-year-old filmmaker said the dystopian future presented in the “Mad Max” franchise is no longer a mere fantasy. He said some of what appears in the movie is closer to a documentary.

“I guess you can say that most of the stories in the movie are allegorical,” he said.

“'Fury Road’ is not a fantasy, it’s a documentary. The world, in fact, is turning that way. Like it or not, we are in catastrophic climate change. I lived long enough to see it. You can’t help but see these things to be part of the story,” he said, referring to his previous installment, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which revolves around a tyrant ruling over a stark desert and controlling every drop of water in an apocalyptic world.

“Furiosa: Mad Max Saga” opens in local theaters on May 23.