At New York Comic-Con in February, MTV News named Mad Max — the post-apocalyptic gun-slinger with an itch for bloody revenge made famous by Mel Gibson in three George Miller films — as the fourth greatest big-screen badass of all time.
Now, with a fourth "Mad Max" film in development, the question becomes: Can anyone possibly replace Gibson as the freak-fighting adventurer? "RocknRolla" star Tom Hardy is going to do his best.
Recently, MTV News had a chance to chat with the man who will likely replace Mel in the next film, and Hardy spoke about the casting process, how he would approach taking the place of an icon and the fact that nothing — despite reports to the contrary — has been made official.
"George hasn't actually confirmed that," Hardy said about becoming Max. "He hasn't come out with it, so I couldn't tell you if I have. It's strongly coming in my direction. I would be preparing for that role."
He added with a wary laugh, "And tomorrow it's taken away and given to Sam Worthington!"
With those cautious sentiments registered, Hardy opened up about the tricky nature of taking over such a well-known role — a position not unlike the one Chris Pine found himself in earlier this year as he replaced William Shatner in the new "Star Trek."
"The Mad Max figure is a big figure, and I have to get my head around that," he told us. "I would have to pick up where Mel left off, but in all honesty, it would be ridiculous to pick up where Mel left off. He is Mad Max. I have to bring something entirely different and new to the stage."
While Hardy has read the script (and, obviously, couldn't discuss any tightly guarded plot details), the actor revealed he hasn't yet had discussions with Miller about creating a fresh take on Max. "We haven't really talked about it enough, because we've been in the deal," he explained. "The audition process had nothing to do with Max and nothing to do with the story or the script. It was unorthodox to the point where actually I could have been auditioning for anything. It was an anonymous read. We haven't actually gotten into the conversation at all about Max."
The man who might be Max trusts in the man who created the character and first brought him to the screen in 1979. "If there's anybody who can create a Mad Max with me playing the character, it's going to be George — it's his baby," Hardy said.
"I just know Mel did it," he added. "It's Mel. He's Mad Max. If I get offered it and George really wants to go with me, then George will tell me exactly what he wants to do and we'll work together on the floor to create what it is that he wants to achieve. And I hope I can get that done for him."
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