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Lesley Vanderwalt, Mad Max: Fury Road Art Director

July 9th 2015

Meet Lesley Vanderwalt, Mad Max : Fury Road art director.

Launched at full speed, Max Max: Fury Road hit our screens with a roar of thunder. In the style of Imperator Furiosa, a woman hiding behind the red curls of Capable, the blond mane of the Splendid Angharad, the ethereal lengths of Cheedo or the slender bob of Toast. After Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, Lesley Vanderwalt leads the art direction for hair and make-up of the latest film by George Miller.

In an interview with Creative Media Skills, the artist explained how the filming proceeded. Surrounded by a team of 35 people recruited in Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, she oversaw the looks of almost 200 actors and extras. The days of shooting began at dawn with an hour-long journey to the set and a discussion with the director. While part of the team returned to the studios in the middle of town to carry out the necessary reparations on wigs and accessories, the qualified hair stylists were preparing the main actors, those remaining would take care of the actors playing secondary and minor roles.

80 hours of work per week was necessary. Of the most striking challenges in the conception and realisation of hairstyles for Mad Max: Fury Road, Lesley Vanderwalt highlights two of the main ones. During preparation, the majority of the work was in applying the vision of director George Miller and to ensure that the looks corresponded with what he had in mind for the characters.

That, however, was pale in comparison to the conditions of the filming which would frequently damage the hairpieces which would require around-the-clock maintenance. The sand, changes in temparature and showers all had the hair and make-up team on their toes firefighting to keep in line with the demands of the art direction. When you see the panic that the slightest stormcloud could cause, one can only tip one’s hat to the persistance of these artists.

Illustration ©Remi Leroy