The Mad Max franchise returned to the big screen after a thirty year absence this past weekend with the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, marking the end of a fifteen year plus journey for director George Miller, who originally started developing the film back in the late 90s.
Having originally planned to shoot the film with Mel Gibson in 2003 before security concerns over its shoot in Namibia put the breaks on the project, Miller started giving consideration to recasting his franchise lead in 2006, and he’s revealed to The Daily Beast (via The Playlist) that he was actively pursuing the late Heath Ledger for the role.
“Every time Heath [Ledger] would come through Sydney, he’d call in and we’d chat about Max. He had that same thing that Mel and Tom Hardy have —that maleness, charisma, and restless energy, which you need to play a relatively still character. The world lost someone great when he went. Tom was the next to walk through the door that had that vibe.”
Meanwhile, chatting to The Q&A Podcast, Miller spoke briefly about his planned sequels, before revealing that the follow-up is set to be titled Mad Max: The Wasteland.
Mad Max: Fury Road is out now, with a cast that includes Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises), Charlize Theron (Prometheus), Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Mad Max), Nathan Jones (Conan the Barbarian), Zoë Kravitz (X-Men: First Class), Riley Keough (Magic Mike), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Josh Helman (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Jennifer Hagan (Jack) and newcomers Abbey Lee Kershaw and Courtney Eaton.