Mel Gibson's personal problems stopped Mad Max return

'Mad Max: Fury Road' director George Miller has revealed Mel Gibson's personal problems in 2006 prevented him from reprising his titular role in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

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Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson wasn't cast in 'Mad Max: Fury Road' because of the "turbulence in his life".

The Hollywood star was due to reprise his role as Max Rockatansky for a fourth time in the action movie in 2006 but his drunk-driving arrest - during which he told one of the arresting police officers that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" - that July and subsequent three-year probation order derailed the project.

Shooting wouldn't commence on the movie until 2011 by which time Gibson, now 59, was considered to be too old to play Max again and the part went to Tom Hardy.

Director George Miller - who was originally due to helm the project after completing big screen animation 'Happy Feet' - said: "Then Mel hit the turbulence in his life and time was 'getting on' by the time we regrouped. We got to 2010."

Miller, 70, had originally been due to work with Gibson on the sequel in 2001 but it was shelved following the financial implications of the September 11 terrorist attacks against the US.

Miller told the Postmedia Network: "He was to do the movie in 2001 ... What happened was that 9/11 happened. The American dollar collapsed 25 percent against the Australian dollar. Our budget ballooned. It was very hard to get all the planets aligned and, by then, Warner Bros. was very keen to get on to 'Happy Feet'. To do the animation, that took three-and-a-half years."

Although Miller decided to go with Hardy, the filmmaker insists there were no hard feelings from Gibson about losing the role that made him a star when he appeared in the original 1979 film.

Miller said: "Tom sought out Mel and they had dinner together and they had a kind of handover. Tom wears a kind of cloth bracelet made from parachute cord and he gave one to Mel. So it was a sign (of passing the torch) ... I also had dinner with Mel. It was in the thick of the more recent problems. Like a lot of people, I feel he is an adorable guy. But, with all that stuff coming out, it was hard to watch.

"Deep down, he is a really good man. The stuff he does - like charity work, anonymously!"

'Mad Max: Fury Road' is released in cinemas worldwide on 14 May.

Mad Max: Fury Road

  • 4 stars
  • 2015
  • US/Australia
  • 120 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: George Miller
  • Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
  • Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Riley Keough, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
  • UK release: 15 May 2015

Reluctant hero Max (Hardy) is drawn into helping Imperator Furiosa (Theron, excellent), who's liberated a group of sexually enslaved women and is being pursued for her trouble by the grotesque Immortan Joe (Keays-Byrne). Precision-executed lunacy, a brilliantly feminist 'western on wheels' with a generous helping of heart.

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