Buchanan lets the people who were there tell the story of “Fury Road,” arranging most of his book like an oral history piece with quotes from the players involved. This is one of those structures that could be filed under “harder than it looks.” It’s more than just arranging quotes and sound bites—the artistry is in the assembly. There’s a flow to the construction of “Blood, Sweat & Chrome” that makes it such an addictively quick, easy read. It’s easy to collect anecdotes, but it takes skill to give coherent momentum to people’s memories and insights. Buchanan is a smart writer, and he puts his book together like a film director assembling the many elements of a complex production like the one he chronicles here.
And I do mean complex. I knew a lot of the stories behind the scenes of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but it was just the tip of the iceberg. For example, I didn’t know (or at least remember) how incredibly long “Fury Road” had been in some state of production, with roots that go back to a failed TV series in the mid-‘90s. Back then, ideas were already being floated around George Miller that would make their way into the film two decades later. And, of course, everyone’s heard the stories of the nightmare shoot, but hearing from actual cast members like Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Riley Keough, and many more adds weight to the legacy of this film.
It helps that Buchanan got everyone to talk, and at just the right time—with enough road behind them to put the events in a different context but not enough that any of their memories have been diminished. There’s a lesser version of the book that doesn’t get Miller or Theron but pushes forward anyway. And there’s something perfect about this timing with Furiosa about to really hit the road. I just hope Buchanan ends up writing the book on that one too.