Tom HardyNew details have emerged about George Miller’s $100 million plus Mad Max sequel Mad Max 4: Fury Road, which will begin shooting in NSW later this year.

After a long period of will he/won’t he speculation it has now been officially confirmed that a) Mel Gibson will not have any involvement in the film – presumably he’ll be too busy directing ultra violent foreign language Hollywood movies and making drunken late night anti-Semitic rants, such is the personality of sweet ol’ Mel – and b) the actor who will fill his shoes as the eponymous cantankerous character will be rising star Tom Hardy, who is best known for his manic performance in Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2008 corker Bronson.

Hardy also appears in a supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s dreamscape thriller Inception, which opens July 22 in Australia and boasts some rather terrific marketing materials such as this humdinger trailer.

Fury Road will reportedly be based on a script George Miller began developing many years ago. A recent interview between Hardy and Firstshowing.net suggest the film will be sort of a remake and sort of not. Here’s a snippet of what Hardy had to say:

“It’s a relaunch and revisit to the world, an entire restructuring. That’s not to say that it’s not picking up or leaving off from the Mad Max you know already, but it’s a nice re-take on the entire world using the same character, depositing him in the same world, but bringing him up to date by 30 years. Obviously Mel would’ve been perfect for it but, for some reason, he’s not doing it and I am. You can expect the same amount of grit and rawness and authenticity [to my] performance, I hope to deliver. But that’s really the crux of me and George to deliver that and all the other actors as the other characters.

But also we have the new world afforded to filmmakers today with all the opportunities and facilities and technical abilities. I think the boys that did Lord of the Rings are involved and all that kind of stuff as well. CGI is not going to be — I think it’s going to be much more like Chris [Nolan], how he deals with action – these things are going to be really there. Big rigs, big explosions, big car crashes, big violence.”

And big expectations. It’s always risky business making sequels to popular and well-loved franchises, especially if they arrive many years after their predecessors. Even the most devout (make that especially the most devout) Indiana Jones fans were put off by The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, even if pensioner Indy’s exploits were probably justifiable simply because audiences could watch the whip crackin’ old timer survive a nuclear bomb by hiding in a refrigerator.

There was an 11 year gap between Indiana Jones 3 and 4. Miller will have had even more time between drinks by the time Mad Max 4 comes around – Max Mad 3 (Beyond Thunderdome) was originally released in 1985. Let’s hope he fares better.

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