One of the most successful Australian movies is the Mad Max series. Mel Gibson starred in the first three films of the franchise. Later, it expanded to include another entry starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy.
Gibson is no longer part of the series, but he gave his blessing to Hardy to continue his legacy. Here’s what he said about the film.
‘Mad Max’ sees a revival
Released in 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road is a retelling of the original story with new actors. It tells the story of Max, escorted by Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, as they flee from the corrupt cult leader Immortan Joe and rescue his five wives. Tom Hardy portrays Max in this iteration of the film.
Mel Gibson did not reprise his role. Writer-director George Miller recast the role because of controversies surrounding Gibson. He also wanted Max to remain at a younger age. Miller told the Huffington Post they “were going to do it with Mel and we were within reach of doing it with Mel. Then 9/11 happened and the American dollar fell against the Australian dollar.” By the time they were ready to shoot, Gibson was too old to reprise his role.
Mel Gibson approves of Tom Hardy and ‘Fury Road’
Star Tom Hardy met with Mel Gibson to discuss him taking over the iconic role of Max. “He was bored with me,” Hardy told Details (via IndieWire) in 2015. “He said, ‘All right, buddy, good luck with that.'” The Venom actor also said Gibson put in a good word for him, so to speak. “He called up my agent and said, ‘I think you found someone that’s crazier than I am.'”
In addition, Gibson attended the Los Angeles premiere. Soon after, at a press conference during the Cannes Film Festival, Miller shared the actor’s thoughts, “Mel was at the premiere of the movie, and I sat next to him,” he said (via Vanity Fair). “Mel is someone who, in a sense, cannot lie. And he started chuckling during the movie and I thought, ‘There’s that chuckle I remember!’ Mel kept chuckling, and he started digging me in the ribs. He gave me great perspective because he is a great actor, but in the end, he is a really great director.”
Gibson shared his thoughts with Collider after the fact. “It’s visually spectacular,” he said of Fury Road. “It’s crazy, but that’s George. He’s a scientist. He’s the Einstein of edit, and of being able to get the pieces necessary to make a truly compelling, in-your-face action sequence.”
The history of the ‘Mad Max’ franchise
The films come from Miller, who created the concept with writer Byron Kennedy. The original follows Max Rockatansky, a police officer in a future Australia where a social breakdown has led to a post-apocalyptic world. When a brutal motorcycle gang murders his young family, Max kills them in retaliation and becomes a wandering loner in the Wasteland.
The first film was one of Australia’s highest-grossing pictures. It is credited with helping to expand the global market for Australian New Wave films. The picture was also noteworthy for being the first to be shot in a widescreen anamorphic format in Australia.
Mad Max 2, also known as Road Warrior, takes place not long after Mad Max. It tells the story of Max, who now has an Australian cattle dog, and the Gyro Captain. The trio assists an isolated community of civilians from Lord Humungus and his gang, who want their gasoline.
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome is the franchise’s third installment and takes place 10 years after the second film. It features Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, who banishes Max to the desert. However, he is saved by a Tribe of Lost Children, who believes he is a flight captain who will fly them back to civilization.
Since the release of Fury Road, there is now another film in the works. Mad Max: The Wasteland. It will release on June 23, 2023, and will feature Tom Hardy as Max once again.