The Colossus of Fury Road: Nathan Jones discusses his 'Mad Max: Fury Road' role
Nathan Jones has traded Boggo Road for Fury Road.
The towering Aussie had a brief career in WWE in the early 2000s, but since departing, the former WWE Superstar has found his niche as an action-film heavy, portraying muscle-bound warriors and supermen in films such as “Troy,” “The Protector” and the 2011 remake of “Conan the Barbarian.” The onetime “Colossus of Boggo Road’s” next venture takes him to the post-apocalyptic wasteland of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” where he stars as the villainous Rictus Erectus opposite Tom Hardy’s Mad Max and Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. Before director George Miller returns to the world he made famous 30 years ago with Jones at his side, WWE.com caught up with the big man to get the details on his character, the film’s life-and-death stunts, and the one thing that may be scarier than wrestling Brock Lesnar.
WWE.COM: How did you come to be a part of the “Mad Max” universe?
NATHAN JONES: It was several years back. [Director George Miller] got in contact with me. I had a role in “Justice League,” and after about three months, the project fell through, probably had to do with the financial climate at the time. I think George was impressed with some of the things I did on set during that time, and he decided he wanted to use me in his upcoming “Mad Max: Fury Road” as Rictus Erectus.
WWE.COM: Can you tell us a little about your character?
JONES: I’m sort of like my father’s right hand man. His name’s the Immortan [played by Hugh Keays-Byrne]. He’s this narcissistic megalomaniac; he’s a bit of a tyrant. I have a love-hate relationship with my father. [I’m] more of an enforcer. I never do anything good enough for him, so he’s always putting me down, and I’m always trying to impress him and earn his respect. But basically, I’m a big kid. It’s kind of a contradiction.
WWE.COM: Coming from a sports-entertainment background, did it help to coordinate the stunts when you had to go on pure instinct?
JONES: I think the wrestling helped a lot, because you have to ad-lib a lot. I think it’s made me a better actor working on my feet, getting out there and just having to do it and not think about it, just work off of instinct. It’s awesome.
WWE.COM: The stunts in the movie look nuts. Do you have any good stories from “Fury Road”?
JONES: The [monster truck] that I was on has about 1,600 horsepower running on methanol and you couldn’t hear anything. It was just deafening. We had these earplugs in our ears, I’m just guesstimating everything I had to do, but it turned out all right, thank God. [Laughs] Everything was operational. We had a flamethrower and there was one day the fuel line broke on the flamethrower, and I’m covered in the spray. Fuel was spraying all over my body, I’m all harnessed in and I couldn’t do anything. I switched everything off, but the fuel was still pouring out, cameras are still rolling and no one can hear me calling out “Cut!” So I’m yelling off the top of my head and banging on the roof. Eventually, one of the stunt guys turned around and saw this big fountain of fuel just spraying over me. I’m standing just above the engine, I’m soaking up all the fuel at this time, thinking it’s eventually going to get down to the engine, ignite and explode. He reacted really quickly, he got his knife out, cut me out, we jumped off that thing real quick and got the fuel line fixed. George came and thanked me for helping prevent a disaster. I said I was just working in my own best interest. [Laughs]
WWE.COM: That’s insane. What was the closest call you had on set?
JONES: The War Rig [a modified 18-wheeler] had two massive V8’s, supercharged, working in tandem. We were going down a canyon, the hydraulics failed and it jackknifed. We were doing a fight scene … but I was actually by myself, I was chasing somebody. I had a safety line, but it was very long, it was about three or four meters long. So what would happen, if I actually fell off, I’d actually land down under bottom of the wheels anyway. The problem is, I thought it was more dangerous because I couldn’t actually jump away from the vehicle. It would actually drag me back in. So what happened was, I was running, and as we’re going down this canyon, the breaks and the steering failed and I didn’t know at the time. So, it jackknifed and I fell on top of my face and snatched my face on the top of the blower, because I was standing on top of the driver at the time. I was at the front of the vehicle, I look back and I thought, “This guy [the driver] doesn’t like me very much.” He’s got his hands up and this look on his face like, “I’m really sorry!” He’s wrestling with the steering wheel at the same time, it went off down a canyon and down into a gully. Luckily, there was some soft sand, we slowed down and they had a backup vehicle so we got the job done anyways. I just had a big massive bruise on my thigh and my face. I survived. [Laughs]
WWE.COM: What’s scarier, fighting on top of a jackknifing truck or wrestling Brock Lesnar?
JONES: [Laughs] Definitely the jackknifing truck.
WWE.COM: Is it close?
JONES: Not even close. Sorry. It gets the adrenaline pumping, there’s not much acting needed. I’d rather take on Brock Lesnar any day. [Laughs]