'Mad Max: Fury Road's Filming Location Was Relocated Namibia Due to an Ironic Problem Created by Climate Change

Mad Max: Fury Road is a miraculous feat of filmmaking. The process of getting this movie to the screen was fraught, to say the least. Fury Road lived in the mind of director George Miller for decades but continually ran into obstacles. Ill-timed production delays combined with the star of the first two movies falling out of favor with the public affected the post-apocalyptic action film’s progress.

Things didn’t get easier after the film was finally greenlit. The stark beauty of Mad Max: Fury Road required shooting in desert environments that weren’t always amenable to the needs of a production crew. 

Why does ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ look so incredible?

Not everyone in Namibia welcomed the arrival of the Mad Max: Fury Road production crew. A fragile ecosystem created the natural beauty that brought Miller and his cast to the country. Endemic species have adapted to the area’s specific climate. The Namib Desert is estimated to be between 50 and 80 million years old. Parts of the desert receive less than half an inch of rain a year. Tire tracks on the desert’s gravel plains can take decades to fully disappear.

The area requires active protection by local environmentalists. Tour guide Tommy Collard accused them of filming in sensitive parts of the Namib Desert, interfering with the wildlife. (A summary of the situation can be found on The World.)”What is worse is the film crew tried to remove the marks they left themselves by dragging nets over them, ripping plants out,” Collard told AFP. “One cannot rehabilitate the landscape of the Namib Desert.”

A leaked draft of an independent environment report also claimed that areas of the desert were damaged and that permission to film in Namib was given before new environmental legislation took effect.

Eventually, the government-run Namibia Film Commission denied that any issues took place after visiting the set. They placed a full-page ad in a local newspaper saying that they had “no reservations” about the production team’s conduct and called the accusations “unjust rhetoric”.

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