George Miller (filmmaker)

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George Miller

Miller in July 2017
Born (1945-03-03) 3 March 1945 (age 78)
EducationSydney Boys High School, Ipswich Grammar School
Alma materUniversity of New South Wales
Occupation(s)Director, producer, writer
(m. 1985; div. 1992)
(m. 1995)
RelativesBill Miller (brother)
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Animated Feature
Happy Feet (2006)

George Miller AO (born 3 March 1945) is an Australian filmmaker best known for his Mad Max franchise, whose second installment, Mad Max 2, and fourth, Fury Road, have been hailed as two of the greatest action films of all time, with Fury Road winning six Academy Awards.[1] Miller is very diverse in genre and style as he also directed the biographical medical drama Lorenzo's Oil, the dark fantasy The Witches of Eastwick, the Academy Award-winning animated film Happy Feet, produced the family-friendly fantasy adventure Babe and directed the sequel Babe: Pig in the City.

Miller is a co-founder of the production houses Kennedy Miller Mitchell, formerly known as Kennedy Miller, and Dr. D Studios. His younger brother Bill Miller and Doug Mitchell have been producers on almost all the films in Miller's later career, since the death of his original producing partner Byron Kennedy.

In 2006, Miller won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for Happy Feet (2006). He has been nominated for five other Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay in 1992 for Lorenzo's Oil, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay in 1995 for Babe, and Best Picture and Best Director for Fury Road in 2015.

Early life[edit]

Miller was born on 3 March 1945[2] in Chinchilla, Queensland, to Greek immigrant parents: Jim Miller and mother Angela. Jim (aka Dimitrios) was born on the Greek island of Kythira (at Mitata), Jim's father anglicised his surname from Miliotis to Miller when he emigrated to Australia in 1920; Angela's family were Greek refugees from Anatolia, displaced by the 1923 population exchange.[3] The couple married and settled in Chinchilla and had four sons: fraternal twins George and John, Chris, and Bill.[citation needed]

George attended Ipswich Grammar School and later Sydney Boys High School,[3] then studied medicine at the University of New South Wales with his twin brother John. While in his final year at medical school (1971), George and his younger brother Chris made St. Vincent's Revue Film, a one-minute short film that won them first prize in a student competition.[4] In 1971, George attended a film workshop at Melbourne University where he met fellow student, Byron Kennedy, with whom he formed a lasting friendship and production partnership, until Kennedy's death. In 1972, Miller completed his residency at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, spending his time off crewing on short experimental films. That same year, Miller and Kennedy founded Kennedy Miller Productions.[5] The pair subsequently collaborated on numerous works. After Kennedy died in 1983, Miller kept his name in the company. It was later renamed Kennedy Miller Mitchell in 2009 as a way to recognise producer Doug Mitchell's role in the company.[6]


Miller at a Mad Max: Fury Road premiere in 2015

Miller's first work, the short film Violence in Cinema: Part 1 (1971), polarised critics, audiences and distributors so much that it was placed in the documentary category at the 1972 Sydney Film Festival due to its matter-of-fact depiction of cinematic violence.[7] In 1979, Miller made his feature-length directorial debut with Mad Max. Based on a script written by Miller and James McCausland in 1975, the film was independently financed by Kennedy Miller Productions and went on to become an international success.[5] As a result, the film spawned the Mad Max series with two further sequels starring Mel Gibson: Mad Max 2 also released as The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). The third film in the series Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.

During the time between the second and third Mad Max films, Miller directed a remake of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" as a segment for the anthology film Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).[8] He also co-produced and co-directed many acclaimed miniseries for Australian television including The Dismissal (1983) and The Cowra Breakout (1984).

In 1987, Miller directed The Witches of Eastwick, starring Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer. The film proved to be a troubling experience for Miller. "I quit the film twice and Jack [Nicholson] held me in there," said Miller. "He said, 'Just sit down, lose your emotion, and have a look at the work. If you think the work is good, stick with the film.' And he was a great man. I learnt more from him than anybody else I think I'd worked for – he was extraordinary."[9] Nicholson also coached Miller to exaggerate his needs during the production, asking for 300 extras when he only needed 150, knowing that his producers would give him less than he requested.[10] The award-winning production designer Polly Platt also collaborated closely with Miller on The Witches of Eastwick. Cher later said that prior to working on the film, Miller called her at home, the day after her 40th birthday, to inform her that he and Nicholson didn't want her in the film. She was deemed "too old and not sexy".[11]

Following The Witches of Eastwick, Miller focused primarily on producing Australian projects.[12] His role as producer of Flirting, Dead Calm and the TV miniseries Bangkok Hilton and Vietnam, all starring Nicole Kidman, was instrumental in the development of her career.

Miller returned to directing with the release of Lorenzo's Oil (1992), which he co-wrote with Nick Enright.[13]

In 1993, Miller was hired to direct Contact based on the story by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan.[14] After working on the film for over a year, Warner Bros. and Miller mutually agreed to part ways and Robert Zemeckis was eventually brought on to direct.[15]

Miller also co-wrote the comedy-drama Babe (1995) and wrote and directed its sequel Babe: Pig in the City (1998).[16]

Miller was also the creator of Happy Feet, a musical epic about the life of penguins in Antarctica.[17] The Warner Bros.-produced film was released in November 2006. As well as being a runaway box office success, Happy Feet also brought Miller his fourth Academy Award nomination, and his first win in the category of Best Animated Feature.

In 2007, Miller signed on to direct a Justice League film titled Justice League: Mortal.[18] While production was initially held up due to the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike,[19] further production delays and the success of The Dark Knight led to Warner Bros. deciding to put the film on hold and pursue different options.[20]

In 2011, the Happy Feet sequel Happy Feet Two was released.[21] The following year, Miller began principal photography on Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film in the Mad Max series, after several years of production delays.[22] Fury Road was released on 15 May 2015.[23] The film was met with widespread critical acclaim and received 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, while Miller himself was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.[24]

In October 2018 it was announced that Miller would direct Three Thousand Years of Longing, which began filming in November 2020.[25] The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2022.[26]

In April 2017, Miller said that he and co-writer Nico Lathouris have finished two additional post-Fury Road scripts for the Mad Max series. The Fury Road lead, Tom Hardy, is committed to the next sequel.[27] In 2015, and again in early 2017, Miller said "the fifth film in the franchise will be titled Mad Max: The Wasteland."[27][28] In 2020, it was reported that Miller would next direct the Mad Max spinoff Furiosa.[29]

Dr. D Studios[edit]

Dr. D Studios was a Sydney-based digital animation studio founded in mid-2007 as a partnership between Kennedy Miller Mitchell and Omnilab Media.[30] Following the financially unsuccessful release of Happy Feet Two (2011) and the long delay of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), the studio closed down in 2013.[30][31]

Personal life[edit]

Miller was married to actress Sandy Gore from 1985 to 1992; they have a daughter. He has been married to film editor Margaret Sixel since 1995; they have two sons.[32] The two initially met during the production of Flirting,[dubious ] and Sixel has since worked on all of Miller's directorial efforts in some capacity.[33]

Miller is the Patron of the Australian Film Institute and the BIFF (Brisbane International Film Festival) and a co-patron of the Sydney Film Festival.

Miller has said on multiple occasions that the 1940 version of Pinocchio is one of his favourite films.[34][35][36]

Miller is a feminist, having told Vanity Fair in May 2015, "I've gone from being very male dominant to being surrounded by magnificent women. I can't help but be a feminist."[37]


Feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1979 Mad Max Yes Yes No
1981 Mad Max 2 Yes Yes No Also additional editor
1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with George Ogilvie
1987 The Witches of Eastwick Yes No No
1992 Lorenzo's Oil Yes Yes Yes
1995 Babe No Yes Yes
1997 40,000 Years of Dreaming Yes Yes No Documentary
Also presenter
1998 Babe: Pig in the City Yes Yes Yes
2006 Happy Feet Yes Yes Yes
2011 Happy Feet Two Yes Yes Yes
2015 Mad Max: Fury Road Yes Yes Yes
2022 Three Thousand Years of Longing Yes Yes Yes
2024 Furiosa Yes Yes Yes Post-production[38]


Year Title Notes
1987 The Year My Voice Broke
1989 Dead Calm Also second unit director
1991 Flirting
1996 Video Fool for Love Documentary

Other credits

Year Title Role
1978 In Search of Anna First assistant director
1980 The Chain Reaction Second unit director (uncredited) and associate producer

Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer
1971 "St. Vincent's Revue Film" Yes Yes
"Violence in the Cinema, Part 1" Yes Yes
1974 "The Devil in Evening Dress" Yes Yes
1983 Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Yes No Segment from the anthology movie Twilight Zone: The Movie


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1983 The Dismissal Yes Yes Yes TV miniseries
1984 The Last Bastion Yes No No
Bodyline No Story Yes
1987 The Far Country Yes No No


Year Title Notes
1985 The Cowra Breakout TV miniseries
1987 Vietnam
1988 The Dirtwater Dynasty
The Clean Machine TV film
The Riddle of the Stinson
Fragments of War: The Story of Damien Parer
Sportz Crazy Documentary miniseries
1989 Bangkok Hilton TV miniseries

Music video[edit]

Year Title Artist
1985 "We Don't Need Another Hero" Tina Turner

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Title Academy Awards BAFTA Awards Golden Globe Awards
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 1
1987 The Witches of Eastwick 2 1 1
1992 Lorenzo's Oil 2 1
1998 Babe: Pig in the City 1 1
2006 Happy Feet 1 1 2 1 2 1
2015 Mad Max: Fury Road 10 6 7 4 2
Total 16 7 11 6 6 1


  1. ^ Shepherd, Jack (15 May 2015). "Mad Max: Fury Road: One of the greatest action films of all time? Here are the top 12 according to Metacritic". The Independent. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  2. ^ Buckmaster, Luke (2017). Miller And Max - George Miller And The Making Of A Film Legend. Hardie Grant Books. p. 3. ISBN 9781743793084.
  3. ^ a b "George Miller". 22 May 2004. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b UNSWorld (2007) p. 15
  5. ^ a b Moran, Albert; Vieth, Errol (21 July 2009). The A to Z of Australian and New Zealand Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780810863477. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  6. ^ "George Miller's New Script". The Australian Financial Review. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  7. ^ Film Ink Magazine, Geoff Stanton, November 2008, page 60
  8. ^ Canby, Vincent (24 June 1983). "'Twilight Zone' is Adapted to the Big Screen". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  9. ^ Denton, Andrew (20 October 2008). "Enough Rope with Andrew Denton – Episode 190: George Miller". Enough Rope. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  10. ^ Galloway, Stephen (2 February 2016). "George Miller on 'Mad Max' Sequels, His Secret Talks With Stanley". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  11. ^ Real, Evan (20 August 2018). "Cher Recalls the Time Jack Nicholson Called Her "Too Old, Not Sexy"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  12. ^ Dutka, Elaine (30 December 1992). "INTERVIEW : The Spark That Gives 'Oil' Its Heat : Movies: Director George Miller follows his passion and gambles on a long-shot--a medical mystery story". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  13. ^ Pender, Anne; Lever, Susan (30 September 2008). Nick Enright: An Actor's Playwright. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 23. ISBN 978-9042024601. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  14. ^ Head, Tom (5 January 2006). Conversations with Carl Sagan. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 89.
  15. ^ Chitwood, Adam (8 May 2015). "George Miller Talks His Version of CONTACT; Likens It to INTERSTELLAR". Collider. Complex. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  16. ^ Cox, Dan (12 November 1997). "U turns production corne". Variety. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  17. ^ "The penguin suite". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 December 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  18. ^ Garrett, Diane (20 September 2007). "George Miller to lead 'Justice League'". Variety. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  19. ^ Michaela, Boland (17 January 2008). "Australia denies killing 'Justice League'". Variety. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  20. ^ Graser, Marc (15 August 2008). "WB taps into ties at DC Comics". Variety. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  21. ^ Vlessing, Etan (14 November 2011). "'Happy Feet Two' to Dance Onto 377 Imax Screens". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  22. ^ Moore, Ben (22 May 2012). "Tom Hardy Uncertain About 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Start Date [UPDATED]". Screen Rant. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  23. ^ "'Mad Max: Fury Road' Set For Summer 2015". Deadline Hollywood. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  24. ^ Donnelly, Jim (22 January 2016). "Oscar Nominations 2016: View The Complete List Of Nominees". The Oscars. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  25. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (25 October 2018). "AFM Hot Pic: George Miller To Direct Movie Epic 'Three Thousand Years of Longing', FilmNation To Launch Sales". Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  26. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (16 March 2022). "George Miller's 'Three Thousand Years of Longing' With Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba Set for Cannes (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  27. ^ a b Cooper, G. (26 April 2017). "Mad Max: Fury Road' has 2 finished sequel scripts already". Cnet reviews. Retrieved 8 May 2017. There are no dates yet, but director George Miller is ready to head out to "The Wasteland" to revisit the 2015 blockbuster hit.
  28. ^ McNary, Dave (18 May 2015). "George Miller Promises 'More Max,' Starting With 'Mad Max: The Wasteland'". Variety magazine. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (13 October 2020). "'Mad Max' Spinoff 'Furiosa' In The Works at Warners With George Miller Directing & Anya Taylor-Joy in Title Role; Chris Hemsworth & Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Along For Ride". Deadline. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  30. ^ a b Quinn, Karl (31 May 2013). "Happy feet no longer tapping as animation studio sells up". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  31. ^ Swift, Brendan (24 November 2011). "Dr D Studios future clouded after staff departures, restructure". If Magazine. The Intermedia Group. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  32. ^ Turner, Brook (May 2007). "Curious George". The Australian Financial Review: 26–38. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  33. ^ "Feet With Legs". Urban Cinefile. 26 December 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  34. ^ Brand, Madeleine; Pesca, Mike (8 December 2006). "Do Kids' Movies Need More Quality Control?". NPR. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  35. ^ Gilchrist, Todd (16 November 2011). "George Miller Says He Approached 'Happy Feet 2' With The Same Respect As Classic Fairy Tales". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  36. ^ Eisenberg, Eric (19 November 2011). "Happy Feet Two Director George Miller Talks About Getting The Cast Together". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  37. ^ Rich, Katey (14 May 2015). "Mad Max: Fury Road Director George Miller: "I Can't Help but Be a Feminist"". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  38. ^ Glynn, Jennifer (28 October 2022). "Anya Taylor-Joy Wraps Filming on 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Prequel 'Furiosa'". Collider. Archived from the original on 7 November 2022. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  39. ^ "It's an Honour – Honours – Search Australian Honours".
  40. ^ Gadd, Michael (17 April 2007). "George Miller gets Masters". Australian Associated Press. Archived from the original on 10 May 2007.
  41. ^ Braithwaite, Alyssa. "Director George Miller to be awarded Ordre des Arts et des Lettres at Sydney's French Film Festival". The Daily Telegraph.
  42. ^ "Miller receives VES award – Inside Film: Film and Television Industry News and Issues for Australian Content Creators". Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  43. ^ "Hall of Fame". Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. State Library of Queensland. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.

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