If you haven't seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet, you have permission to leave Gizmodo UK and head over to your nearest cinema multiplex. It is the best action film in years, a surprisingly thoughtful, artistic and batshit-crazy movie that could easily beat its way into your favourites list. Its bizarre cast of characters are one of its many, many draws, and none stand out more than the Doof Warrior, the flame-throwing guitarist you'll have seen in the trailers.
Played by Australian musician iOTA, the Doof Warrior heads up a convoy of war machines, shredding riffs while suspended by a bungee from a giant PA system, shooting flames out of the twin-necked guitar's headstock. As if the image alone isn't enough to make your jaw drop, note too that the guitar prop actually works, as both an amplified instrument and flame-spewing death machine, and that iOTA actually played it, dangling from the rig, shooting the hot stuff.
"George [Miller] — unfortunately — doesn’t like things that don’t work", production designer Colin Gibson told MTV. "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."
Not only did iOTA have to play the unconventional gig, but his character demanded he also do so blindfolded. Incredibly, the talented guitarist got up to speed with his gruelling role after just six weeks of training.
"Pretty much everybody had to have a reason for existing", said Gibson.
"His reason for existing was that he could play the guitar — and there was sort of a theory of what the social hierarchy and everything was: you were either available to do battle, as a war boy; or you had a higher status than anyone else; or you had a particular skill.
"...he had this talent to play the guitar — so he certainly had earned his place in the pantheon." [MTV]