‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: Which Actor Almost Played The Titular Role?

For Mad Max: Fury Road, Mel Gibson was originally set to reprise his role as Max Rockatansky, the character that launched his acting career. But Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant caused him to drop out of production, and director George Miller was forced to look for someone else.

Eventually, Tom Hardy would end up landing the part in the fourth Mad Max film, but he wasn’t the first choice following Gibson’s departure. During an interview with the Daily Beast, Miller explained that the late Heath Ledger was in talks to play the lead character. The two were discussing Fury Road as Miller was working on his animated feature, Happy Feet.

“Every time Heath [Ledger] would come through Sidney, he’d call in and we’d chat about [Mad] 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.”

Miller added that he wanted to find someone like Ledger for the part, and that’s when Hardy came along.

“Tom was the next to walk through the door that had that vibe.”

As for having a Mel Gibson cameo appearance in Mad Max: Fury Road, Miller noted that there was “never” any discussion of that possibly happening.

“It would be like having Sean Connery turning up in Daniel Craig’s James Bond movie. It would pull everyone out of the movie when you’re trying to get them into it.”

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Mad Max: Fury Road was a huge hit with film critics. The reviews aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes, has the film at a 98 percent approval rating, with 228 of the 232 reviews counted as positive.

While the fourth Mad Max film was a success with critics, it had some tough competition at the box office with another sequel. According to Box Office Mojo, Pitch Perfect 2 won the top spot with $69.2 million, while Fury Road came in second with $45.4 million.

Prior to the release of Fury Road, Hardy told Esquire that he has signed on for three more Mad Max films. However, it all depends on how Fury Road does at the box office.

“Everything’s based on figures and how things are perceived. Inevitably, it’s a business.”

Miller already has stories mapped out for the next Mad Max entries. While on The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith, he explained that he has “one screenplay and a novella.”

“It happened because with the delays, and writing all the backstories, they just expanded.”

The conversation about the sequels begins around the 25-minute mark, and can be heard here. Miller then revealed to Goldsmith that the next Mad Max film is currently titled Mad Max: The Wasteland.

[Image credit: Warner Bros. via Collider]