The Mad Max films caught the world by storm. Telling the story of a police officer in a future Australia, “cruising the squalid back roads that have become the breeding ground of criminals foraging for gasoline and scraps,” the action-packed movie turned into a true classic loved by millions.
The second sequel, Mad Max 2, released in the United States as The Road Warrior, featured impeccable Mel Gibson in the main role. However, another character that fans went crazy about was The Feral Kid, played by then 8-year-old Emil Minty.
This boy became a huge star almost overnight and his portrayal of the grunting, primitive-looking mute, stunned millions of fans, although he never said a single word in the movie.
However, besides the stardom he rose to at such early age, Emil never made a career in Hollywood.
So how did it all start for Emil Minty?
Back in the day, his sister was signed to a talent agency, but she insisted her brother be the one to try and land some roles, which is exactly what happened. At first, Emil, who was born in late 1972 in New South Wales, Australia, was part of a couple of commercials. But then, he auditioned for the role of The Feral Kid and his life took a different turn.
“My next audition was for the Feral Kidd in Mad Max 2. It came down to about three kids out of many, and we were asked to come up with a story on how we became the Feral kid out in this wasteland,” he said in a radio interview.
“My short story was that we were flying with my parents in a plane, landed, had no fuel, dad went to find fuel and never came back, mum went to find dad, never came back, and I was left to defend for myself. And well, that’s how it all began.
“I was just eight years old, and I was just having fun, surrounded by these crazy guys in costumes and all these cars in the desert. I was just playing around and jumping into cars, just had an amazing time.”
During the filming, his mother was there the entire time.
“My mom spent all the time with me at Broken Hills for about three months. She would ground me before I was about to go on and do a scene. She sat me down, and we did breathing exercises and relaxed and calmed down,” he recalled.
“I mean, I was 8-year old. I was hyperactive, ran around, and got into things. When it came to doing my work, I believe that back then, I was quite professional. But [director George Miller] was able to get out of me what he wanted for the character, and he was a genius. A mastermind.”
What the character was known for was his skill of throwing boomerang. In the book Mel Gibson – Man on a Mission, by Wensley Clarkson, Emil was quoted saying that it was Gibson who taught him how to “throw a boomerang and head-butt people without hurting them.”
When the filming was over and the film was released, Emil wasn’t allowed to attend the premiere because the movie was R-rated.
When it was reclassified to M, Emil went to see it together with Gibson and his family.
The character of The Feral Kid was praised by critics, with The Calgary Herald movie critic Rosemary McCracken writing: “Wild of hair and short on words but stout of heart and killer with a boomerang. This has to be the toughest preteen in the outback.”
Besides the success the film achieved, Emil didn’t continue his career in Hollywood. He did stare in a few movies, including Fluteman and The Winds of Jarrah, as well as some commercials, but that was it.
He got interested in jewelry and is working at the same jewelry shop for 25 years. “I just got more interested in having a secure job and getting a trade,” he said. “So I just sort of faded out of the movie and television industry, and I still work in the jewelry industry and for the same person today 25 years on.”
Today, Emil is happily married and has two children. He says that his family leads a life like most ordinary families.
As of the legendary role he portrayed, he shared with the Daily Telegraph: “I’m just so thrilled to have been a part of it. It makes people’s day when they find out I’m the Feral Kid.”
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