Tag Archives: george miller

Wright On Miller

“Death is something that permeates through the whole of the Mad Max franchise, and that's fascinating to me.” - Edgar Wright

A new era of Hell Is For Hyphenates dawns! Or, if we're going by Planet of the Apes terminology, it rises, then it dawns. Then it wars. With Sophie departing the show last month, this month included not just prep for a new episode, but simultaneously hunt for a new co-host.

If you've been listening to the show since the beginning - and of course you have - you'll remember that one of our earliest guests was the wonderful Rochelle Siemienowicz, writer and critic, who joined us in October 2010 to talk the films of Sofia Coppola. Rochelle now joins the show on a permanent basis, immediately and brilliantly hitting the ground running like she's always been here.

Rochelle and Lee kick off their first show with a look back at some of the key films of this month, including Steven Soderbergh's hillbilly heist Logan Lucky, Luc Besson's sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Claire Denis's comedic drama Let Sunshine In, and Agnès Varda's rural France road trip documentary Faces Places.

They then look at the films and career of the legendary Australian filmmaker George Miller. From the post-apocalyptic muscle cars of the Mad Max series to solemn biopics, from supernatural comedies to singing pigs and dancing penguins, Miller's career is nothing if not eclectic. But are there common threads between these apparently mismatched films that we may have previously missed?

Then, Lee speaks to this month's guest, writer/director Edgar Wright - the beloved cult filmmaker behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The World's End and Baby Driver - about the effect Mad Max had on him. The interview was conducted the day after George Miller had hosted Edgar at the Q&A for the Sydney premiere of Baby Driver, so the timing was pretty perfect. And you're really going to want to hear about Edgar getting both filmmaking and medical advice from Dr George.

In fact, you’re going to want to hear the whole thing. So get downloading, get listening, and get scrolling-down because our show notes provide, as always, the value-added content we like to imagine you crave.

(Note: the original post announcing this month's episode promoted our guest as director Patrick Hughes. Due to scheduling conflicts, Patrick was unable to join us, but we hope to have him on in a future episode.)

Further reading:

Edgar and Lee bond over having beards and putting their hands in their pockets

Outro music: score from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, composed by Brian May

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Edgar Wright talking the films of George Miller, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed via our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – August 2017

Edgar Wright joins us to talk the films of George Miller!

It’s an episode of some significance as we welcome Rochelle Siemienowicz on board as the new co-host of Hell Is For Hyphenates. Rochelle and Lee chat about some of the key new releases of this month, including Steven Soderbergh’s hillbilly heist Logan Lucky (02:04), Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (08:21), Claire Denis’s comedic drama Let Sunshine In (13:39), and Agnès Varda’s rural France road trip documentary Faces Places (18:26).

Rochelle and Lee then look at the films and career of the legendary Australian director Dr George Miller, who redefined Oz cinema with the Mad Max franchise, and went on to make dramatic biopic Lorenzo’s Oil, supernatural comedy The Witches of Eastwick, dark fairytale Babe: Pig in the City, and socially-conscious animated musicals Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two. (24:38)

Lee then talks to writer/director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The World’s EndBaby Driver) about the influence of Mad Max, the generational appeal of George Miller’s films, and what it’s like to receive both filmmaking and medical advice from Dr Miller himself! (47:35)

The George Miller Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double feature that will not only make for a great evening's viewing, but will bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…


How do you pick two films that satisfactorily summarise the career of someone like George Miller? It's not easy, but we think we can do it, and we're gonna do it with sequels. Your evening kicks off with Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the film that obliterates the ambition of every other sequel in history by casually pointing out that there was an apocalypse at some point between the first film and the second. That brazen move is enough to make this a must-see, but it's also one of the greatest Australian films of all time, one that helped redefine an entire nation's cinema. Max is an anti-hero for the ages, a road warrior reluctantly enlisted as saviour by a group of desperate survivalists. Once you're finished this dystopic action film, follow up with that other George Miller sequel set in a familiar yet distant reality, Babe: Pig in the City. Considered a disaster on its release, the film has since been reassessed as a modern classic, a dark fairytale that feels like something the Brothers Grimm would make if they were filmmakers. It's got heart and there's a morality lesson, but there's also a lot of very strange and disturbing stuff you don't normally see in a family film. Which is part of the reason it works so well.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, get your hands on the original: Mad Max (1979). It may be slightly eclipsed by subsequent entries, but the pre-apocalyptic ur-text is still an all-timer. If you can't get or have already seen Babe: Pig in the City, track down Happy Feet Two (2011). Like Pig in the City, this is another sequel ostensibly aimed at kids, but refuses to walk the same ground as its predecessor as it leans hard into a bleaker tale for its heroes.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of George Miller? There aren't that many to choose from given every film he's made holds an important place in the canon, but it appears that Lorenzo's Oil (1992) may have slipped a little out of the general consciousness recently. And that's a shame, because the only outright drama that Miller made is as deft and compelling as his genre work, a tear-jerking true story about two parents giving up everything to find a cure for their son's disease.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, in which we discuss the films of George Miller, will be released on 30 August 2017.