HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 07:  George Miller arrives at the "Mad Max: Fury Road" - Los Angeles Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on May 7, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Movies - TV
Mad Max: Fury Road’s Face Paint Tells A Hidden Story
Much of the world-building in “Mad Max: Fury Road” is conveyed through visual symbolism, such as the face paint worn by the War Boys, which is more than just an aesthetic choice.
Director George Miller revealed the paint indicates that these men are dying soon of an illness, adding, “The War Boys have some sort of neoplasm, some sort of disease going on.”
He continued, “They’re designated half-lives [...] So if you’re a War Boy or a half-life, you’ll paint yourself white and form some sort of skeletal look.”
This reason further explains the use of grey clay pigment around the War Boys’ eyes and mouths, giving them a more gaunt, emaciated appearance, similar to a skeleton.
Imperators don’t use white paint, but instead can be seen adorned with black paint, indicating that they have full lives. However, they change to white paint if they become ill.
With their lives so short, the War Boys have come to venerate cars, as these strong, sustainable machines will outlive their legacy — they can fix the vehicles but not themselves.