It was early in 2003 and Australian writer/director George Miller was gearing up to begin shooting the fourth “Mad Max” movie almost two-and-a-half decades after the last one hit theaters. Mel Gibson was set to reprise the role that made him a star and filming was to begin in Namibia. Then the United States went to war in Iraq, and everything fell apart.
Miller, however, has never given up his dream of restarting the project. “You would think I would be done with ‘Mad Max’ by now, but once you let those stories creep into your mind they keep going around in your head,” he told MTV News.
One thing Miller has given up on is his leading man, who turned 53 in January. “The ideas we have for live action are very physical. The stories are pretty physical. It’s not like ‘Unforgiven,’ about an older person.” In other words, Mel, no one wants an elderly Max fighting freaks with one hand and popping Advil with the other.
Just six years ago, Miller had a very different attitude and was ready to use Gibson in the fourth film, titled, “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
“We got pretty close and then the American dollar collapsed because of the Iraq war,” said Miller. Their budget virtually disappeared. Additionally, 20th Century Fox balked at the logistical complexities of moving equipment and crew into Africa with war on the horizon. The studio pulled the plug and Miller went off to write and direct the animated crowd-pleaser, “Happy Feet.”
Now the director is once again revisiting the franchise that made his name. As we reported earlier, he’s developing two projects based on “Max”: a feature-length 3D anime version and an action-adventure videogame. Both are still several years away from seeing the light of day and neither will involve Gibson.
Two new “Mad Max” ventures sounds like plenty for now, but Miller continues to keep the door open to his original plans for a fourth film, albeit with a younger, as-yet- unnamed lead actor. “It depends on when the opportunity comes to do the live-action film,” said the director. “‘Mad Max’ was a lifetime ago.”
Is Mel Gibson really too old to play Mad Max? Who else could step in? Of all the “Max” projects out there—3D anime, videogame, Gibson-less live-action version—which are you most excited about?