Audiences are loving Coma the Doof Warrior (the flamethrower guitar guy) in Fury Road as much as they hated Jar Jar Binks in Phantom Menace, so much to the point that it seems half the tweets about the movie mention him. But the film doesn’t divulge a lot of details about him. Fortunately, he does indeed have a backstory as worked out between George Miller and the actor who plays him, Australian musician Iota.
“…George had said that Coma was found by Immortan Joe in a Cave and taken under his wing and he learned to be a musician. I kind of embellished that for myself. Basically, my story was that Coma was found with his mother’s head, after she had been killed, and he was clinging to it and Immortan Joe came and found him and Coma took her face off and made the mask out of her face, to honor her when he went to war.”
Creepy! But Iota’s creative contribution to the character went even further beyond the backstory. He came up with the costume.
“Coma didn’t really have a costume, as such. So there was lots of trying stuff on and I remember thinking that an old farcical onesie would be good with the butt flap hanging out the back. The mask was something that was worked on and influence came from everyone. And certainly Angus Young and AC/DC was an influence.”
In an interview with Vice, Iota revealed an additional detail:
“The character is supposed to be a really great musician who is a bit mute and a bit deaf, and quite blind. I think of him as sort of a Quasimodo-like character.”
And while this will come as no surprise to those who’ve been reading about the making of Fury Road, Iota was actually strapped suspended from the truck for his scenes. And yes, he really did play the guitar which, by the way, was real.
“Most of the time, I’d just try to make noise. I pulled out some AC/DC, some Soundgarden, some Zeppelin, but after eight hours, you do just start thumping on it for a while.”
As Bill and Ted would say, “Excellent!”