'Mad Max: Fury Road' Gave Us One of the Greatest Characters In Modern Cinema History, And It's Not Who You Think It Is
It’s been three days since Mad Max: Fury Road came out, and everyone’s still freaking out about it. Rightfully so: It’s one of the greatest action movies ever made, it’s feminist as hell, it doesn’t have a character whose entire point is to be a joke about Latinas and illegal immigration and human trafficking, amiriiiiiiiiite? But, while there’s been a lot of conversation about Fury Road’s amazing Imperator Furiosa, its gender politics, and its general awesomeness, there’s one character in particular whom I think isn’t getting enough attention.
People. We need to talk about Guitar Guy.
Vague spoilers follow.
If you haven’t seen Fury Road (go see Fury Road!), Guitar Guy is part of the entourage of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who spends the movie hunting down Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) because she freed his “Wives,” actually his sex slaves, out of their plush prison.
Guitar Guy’s guitar spits fire.
This fact—again, for whose of you whose brains are still rebooting, the fact that this is a man who plays an electric guitar that is also a flamethrower—is not the best thing about Guitar Guy. The fact that Guitar Guy’s name is Doof Warrior (yes, really), is also not the best thing.
The best thing is this: When the world got its first glimpse of Guitar Guy in the first Fury Road trailer, thus inoculating us against all future harsh vibes (at least until Aloha comes out), that’s what we got. A glimpse. “Oh, sweet, a guitar that is also a flamethrower,” we thought. We were so naive. Because GEORGE. FUCKING. MILLER. IN THE MOVIE. Keeps cutting back to Guitar Guy. He gets screentime. Action scene where we’re coming up on a sandstorm. Guitar Guy is there. Jammin’. 30 minutes later. Is Guitar Guy still there? Yup. Is he still playing his electric guitar flamethrower? You bet your ass he is. Here’s a question for you: The big action scene at the end of the movie… will Guitar Guy be a part of that? Like, will he have an impact on the plot instead of just standing around looking cool, which is already a pretty sizable contribution to the medium of film when “standing around and looking cool” means playing a fucking electric guitar flamethrower?
Guitar Guy, along with the drummers he shares his rig with, are a permanent part of Immortan Joe’s entourage. “Fuck, we’re in a dystopia. There are no CD players here. Spotify’s fucked. I wouldn’t use Tidal even if it still existed. I have to go to the store for some milk. Gotta have my tunes, though!”
HE. HAS. HIS. OWN. MOBILE. SOUNDTRACK.
What we know about Guitar Guy/Doof Warrior is pretty scarce, because George Miller’s not a fan of exposition dump, God bless his cotton socks. He’s blind. He’s skilled at controlled flailing on top of a moving 18-wheeler. He’s played by Australian musician/cabaret performer iOTA, who actually had to learn to play a guitar “at full speed, while bungee jumping and blind,” according to production designer Colin Gibson, who also refers to Doof and his percussion pals as “the biggest little drummer boy in the world.”
Because, oh yeah, the guitar fucking worked.
And yeah, it really did spit fire.
(Gibson: “George — unfortunately — doesn’t like things that don’t work. I have in the past built him props that I thought were just supposed to be props, and then he goes, ‘Okay, plug it in now.’ The first version of the guitar which — I think I put too much into the flame thrower, not enough into the reverb. And yes, the flame throwing guitar did have to operate, did have to play, the PA system did have to work and the drummers… Unfortunately, I did get practice in all positions and I’ve got to tell you, the drumming was very uncomfortable at 70 [kilometers] an hour, eating sand.”)
And George, buddy, I respect you—you co-produced and co-wrote Babe, so I couldn’t not—but that’s just not enough for me. I need more. I need everything. What’s Doof’s favorite heavy metal tune to wail to? Has he ever experimented with smooth jazz? Maxi-dresses: Yea or nay?
If there’s anyone who’ll get me cosplaying, it’s this guy. Time to stock up on red onesies.
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