Chemistry: You either have it or you don’t.
In the case of Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, it actually worked in their favor that they didn’t get along. In the latest issue of , both director George Miller and Theron open up about her relationship with Hardy off-screen while working on Mad Max: Fury Road.
“I’m not saying that they were seething right through, but the trajectory of the characters can’t help but seep into the work,” Miller says of the co-stars. “When they first meet each other, they’re trying to kill each other. As the two characters come together out of necessity and rather reluctantly, they have to find a degree of trust. And to some extent that was the trajectory of their relationship as well.”
But Theron wouldn’t describe their interactions quite like that. “From what I hear, he’s not like that on every movie—I hear he’s had good experiences,” Theron says of her co-star, laughing. “Maybe the movie is what it is because we struggled so much with each other, and those characters had to struggle so much with each other. If we were chum-chum, maybe the movie would have been 10 times worse.”
For better or for worse, their rocky relationship worked wonders for the movie. Mad Max: Fury Road won six Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards and four BAFTA awards. It won several other awards, including Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
This isn’t the first time Theron has gone on record about her not-so-great feelings for Hardy. She told Esquire in April 2015 that they “f–kin went at it” while on set. “We drove each other crazy, but I think we have respect for each other, and that’s the difference,” she explained. “This is the kind of stuff that nobody wants to understand—there’s a real beauty to that kind of relationship.”
She showed the magazine a gift Hardy left in her trailer as a wrap present, which was a self-portrait he had painted. On the back he left a red handprint and an inscription that read, “You are an absolute nightmare, BUT you are also f–king awesome. I’ll kind of miss you. Love, Tommy.”
This is the epitome of a love-hate relationship.