Back in June, I wrote a list of 20 films from the 1980s that weren’t being remade. It was a celebration of the sacred ground that Hollywood didn’t seem as eager to trample all over, and I dutifully put Mad Max at the top of the list. Sure, I’d heard the rumble that George Miller was going to make an animated sequel, talking a big game about being inspired by Akira, but claiming that you want to start pre-production and actually making a film are two vastly different things.
Of course, soon after I wrote that list, the rumblings got more and more defined, and now it looks like a live-action Mad Max is a strong possibility. Luckily, it’s looking like either film would be a sequel and not an out-and-out remake. Phew.
Just last week, news broke through an interview that Jeremy Renner was screen-testing for the iconic role. If you’ve read FSR and our glowing praise for both Renner and The Hurt Locker, then you won’t be surprised by our enthusiasm for him being cast. It would be brilliant. The guy is just about as talented as it gets.
However, we decided to put our heads together to brainstorm five other actors that might be able to fill those boots. So here they are, in no particular order:
6. Jeremy Renner
The Pitch: Max Rockatansky is two things. Duty-bound and blinded by revenge. Renner is a phenomenal choice – especially after seeing how intensely loyal to his job and totally nusto-insane he played his roles in The Hurt Locker and 28 Weeks Later. He’s got the range to go from bad ass to crazed bad ass, and he’s already got a solid action background.
5. Ryan Kwanten
The Pitch: First of all, he’s Australian. Which helps. Second of all, he’s a young actor who’s recognizable enough from his role on “True Blood” without being too famous to overpower the role. He’s definitely got the charm to be Max, but his fatal flaw could come in trying to be naked on screen most of the time. Don’t judge him. It’s what he’s used to.
4. Johnny Messner
The Pitch: Let’s be honest. Messner has been in some really, truly awful movies and television, but I think we could forgive his presence in the abysmally bad “Knight Rider” series in order to see him driving grease machines in the desert. He’s got a dominating presence, had a cool guest spot on “Burn Notice,” and it’s not like he’d have to elevate his acting chops all that much to wear leather and spit out, “I think we’ve got some hoon trouble…”
3. Natalie Portman
The Pitch: Didn’t expect that little twist did you? Admit it – Mad Maxine could be a really cool feature. Imagine a short-haired, leather-clad Portman trolling the desert in a Pursuit Special and taking down gang thugs. She’s a great actor, has major charisma, and has publicly threatened to shit on people’s faces and force them to do her dry cleaning. In short, she’s a bad ass. Your concern might be that her body type is a little small for the part – but that didn’t stop Mel Gibson when he made the role famous and only stood at 3-foot-5-inches tall. Little known fact!
2. Anthony Mackie
The Pitch: I’ll admit that I got the idea when Mackie’s Hurt Locker co-star Renner came up for the part, but the more I thought about it, the more it fit. Mackie is a hell of a performer, has done action, and can look downright frightening when he wants to.
1. Mel Gibson
The Pitch: Why the fuck not? At 52-years old, I’m sure that Gibson could muscle his way down a barren landscape again. Plus, it helps that, you know, he is Mad Max.
What do you think? Who else would you want to see play Max?
Editor’s Note: This list was lovingly compiled mostly seriously by Robert Fure, Cole Abaius, and Rob Hunter.