Badasses come and go, but 30 years after director George Miller and unknown Australian actor [movieperson id="80723"]Mel Gibson[/movieperson] collaborated on their first rough-and-tumble adventure about a road warrior just trying to survive in a brutal postapocalyptic landscape, Mad Max lives on.
Today, Max is nothing short of an icon. It’s no surprise the character landed at #4 on our recently unveiled Greatest Movie Badasses of All Time list.
Mel Gibson consented to a rare interview with MTV News to discuss the honor. And lest you think Gibson, who was such a mystery to U.S. audiences at the time that his voice was dubbed in the first “Mad Max” movie, is still wild, the actor/director assured us, “I now drink warm milk and eat cookies before bed. I’ve mellowed.”
MTV: Thanks for giving us a ring, Mel.
Mel Gibson: Yeah, I just heard about it yesterday. I’m the fourth-baddest badass? Is that it?
Gibson: I’m glad you told me so I can avoid them now. I think I can take Sigourney . [Laughs.]
MTV: Does anything about you make you feel like a badass today?
Gibson: No, that’s in the past. My badass has hemorrhoids. My badass needs a rest.
MTV: Does it feel like it’s been 30 years since “Mad Max” was released?
Gibson: No, it’s a heartbeat. When you look back, it’s like a snap of the fingers. You can imagine that when you’re finally croaking and drawing your last wheeze, it’s all going to seem like it was an instant in time.
MTV: Was it just another job at the time?
Gibson: It was the only job. I just walked in and [director George Miller] asked me to tell him a joke. I did, and I got the gig.
MTV: What was the joke?
Gibson: I don’t even remember. It was 30 years ago and I’ve had a few destroyed brain cells.
MTV: Were you and George always on the same page in the series?
Gibson: By the time we got around to the second one ["The Road Warrior"], it was more like that. There was more of a history to us. … And there was more to bring to it, which was actually less. That’s what I discovered. Do nothing. Look bored. [Max] is a closet human being.
MTV: To look at the film, one would imagine that it was a difficult and uncomfortable shoot.
Gibson: We filmed in the only place nobody would go, where the turd wranglers would drop all their sh–. It wasn’t glamorous at all. It was low-budget. Twenty-five guys in the crew. You didn’t have a trailer. You want to change your costume? Go over to the side of the road and strip down. That was it.
MTV: Do you look back at that kind of filmmaking with affection now?
Gibson: I like that way of working, I really do. I’m always trying to get back there, but no one will let you. I’m working on something that goes back to yesteryear in that way. A dozen guys can get together and pull it off.
MTV: This would be something you would direct?
Gibson: Yeah, absolutely.
MTV: Are you anxious to get behind a camera again?
Gibson: Yeah. I think I derive the greatest amount of pleasure from that activity. It kills you. It takes every reserve you have. I don’t know how Ridley Scott keeps churning them out. I don’t know how he does it. When I do one, I need to see a rubber room for about a year afterwards.
MTV: Is the project close to getting off the ground?
Gibson: It’s something we’ve been developing here for about 12 years. It’s tough to get something up in the climate today.
MTV: Martin Riggs of “Lethal Weapon” sadly didn’t make the cut for our badass list.
Gibson: Well, he got goofy. He started out pretty tough, but then he was eating dog biscuits. You’re not afraid of a guy who does that. He’ll go down in the annals of history somewhere else.
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