Tom Hardy would argue that George Miller, the mastermind behind the Mad Max franchise, invented the post-apocalyptic genre. And he could be right. The first Mad Max film came out in 1979, and introduced the world to an unknown hero named Max, and an even lesser known actor named Mel Gibson. Three movies later and we have 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road, with a brand new Max and a heroine named Furiosa. "I was daunted," says Hardy of taking on the role. "Mad Max is synonymous with Mel Gibson and much loved character by many people."
But it's been 36 years since that first film, and audiences can't expect Gibson to be married to the role forever. Hardy has proven himself as a worthy heir, with films like The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Lawless, Warrior... and the list goes on. "I was really excited to get the job, it’s always exciting to get a job, but this is such a big fish to land. But it was a see-saw effect," he says, thinking: "'Everyone loves Mel, and nobody’s gonna want me at all.' It’s being the new boy at school, and is set up, for some ways, for failure."
But on the other side of the spectrum, reinvention was imminent. "Having said that, George has created the post-apocalyptic movie, some 40 years ago be it, so there was no real pressure to fill someone’s film or be a new Mad Max," he explains. "I was inheriting a legacy. I had been chosen by George to transmute his vision into today’s foray into the Mad Max world. So really it was a question of just doing what was asked of me."
See Mad Max: Fury Road in theaters May 15.