EXCLUSIVE: ‘Mad Max’ Speaks! ‘Bronson’ Star Tom Hardy On His Coming Game-Changer

Tom Hardy landing the starring role in “Mad Max: Fury Road” is an amazing turn of events for that franchise. You might remember him as Handsome Bob from “RocknRolla.” But if you really want to understand the awesome power of Hardy in the loner badass role once occupied by Mel Gibson, you have to check out the UK import “Bronson,” in which Hardy portrays real-life sociopath Charlie Bronson, a man who’s been bounced between more than 150 correctional facilities and mental institutions. He carries the challenging film with ease, crafting a vile character who you nonetheless want to root for.

Recently, Hardy was gracious enough to take some time out of his schedule for a chat with MTV’s Josh Horowitz. While the topic of the discussion — pegged to Hardy’s selection as one of the people we’re most thankful for in 2009 — was mostly on what’s been for the actor, he also had a fair bit to say about what will be. And what will be with “Fury Road” in particular.

Hardy first wanted to set the record straight on his casting in the “Mad Max” movie. “George hasn’t actually confirmed that,” he revealed, quickly adding that “it’s strongly coming in my direction. I would be preparing for that role.” While it certainly sounds like a lock, both from the reports we’ve been getting and from the actor’s own words, the guy can be forgiven for not wanting to spread around any wrong information.

That said, he’s certainly educating himself on the role, and coming to terms with the fact that he could very well be stepping into the role of this iconic character in film history. “The Mad Max figure is a big figure, and I have to get my head around that,” he said.

The challenge with a role like this is two-fold. Starring in an event blockbuster carries its own baggage of course, but Hardy also has to account for the series’ rich history. The Mad Max character is so heavily identified with Gibson, there’s always the danger of simply rehashing. It’s encouraging to hear then that Hardy is aware of the possible pitfalls.

“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,” the actor explained. “He is Mad Max. I have to bring something entirely different and new to the stage.”

Hardy won’t be alone of course, not with franchise creator Miller watching his back. “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.”

For now however, Hardy’s flying blind. He’s read the script, but that’s about the extent of it. Even his screen test for the role offered no insight. “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. [Miller and I] haven’t actually gotten into the conversation at all about Max.”

Hardy has faith though. “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.”

What do you think of Tom Hardy as Mad Max? What new elements do you think he could bring to the character? Is there anything about the old character you’d like to see changed for “Fury Road”?