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Before Tom Hardy, Heath Ledger was in heavy talks to become Mad Max for Fury Road

Another name in the long list of actors considered for the role.

Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale (2001)
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

We all know Tom Hardy did an amazing job as the new star of the Mad Max series in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), but many renowned actors were also considered for the role of Max Rockatansky long before George Miller finally got to shoot the fourquel, and perhaps the most interesting one was Heath Ledger.

The conversation about the many trials and tribulations the fourth Mad Max movie had to go through has been a long one, since nearly every time George Miller comes out of hiding and talks to journalists, new tidbits are shared.

When it comes to the matter of Heath Ledger once being considered for the role of Mad Max, we must go back to 2015, around the time when Fury Road was released in cinemas and wowed everyone. During a Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith (via IndieWire), Miller commented on Ledger almost landing 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."

The early '00s version of Fury Road that never was would've been shot right around the peak in popularity that Ledger was enjoying thanks to A Knight's Tale (2001), but issues such as the post-9/11-attacks power of the American dollar as well as insurance costs for the production got in the way. Those were only a few of the many obstacles the project had to overcome over the years.

Up next from the Mad Max universe comes Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the Fury Road prequel led by Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. Moreover, George Miller has at least one more Max-led installment (led by Hardy) ready to go once he's done with the spinoff and Warner Bros. gives him the go-ahead.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is in theaters now - if you got confused (or haven't got there yet), we have a guide to all the big questions with that ending. Get more with articles on Furiosa's new ride, an itinerary on how (and where) to watch all the Mad Max movies in chronological or release order, and the Mad Max movies' entire timeline explained.


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