Australian director George Miller says he’s working on a new addition to the Mad Max franchise – a 3-D anime feature film.
The plot of the new film will be based in part on original script for the fourth Mad Max film which was originally set to be shot in 2003, until the war in Iraq led to the loss of funding. And while switching to animation offers certain practical considerations, Miller said his main motivation is simply a desire to try his hand at the genre. “I see myself as someone who is very curious about storytelling and all its various media,” Miller told MTV Movies. “I’ve always loved anime, in particular the Japanese sensibility. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Despite his affection for “Japanese sensibilities,” Miller said he wants to adapt the style to make it more palatable for mainstream Western audiences. “The anime is an opportunity for me to shift a little bit about what anime is doing because anime is ripe for an adjustment or sea change,” he said. “It’s coming in games and I believe it’s the same in anime. There’s going to be a hybrid anime where it shifts more towards Western sensibilities. [Akira] Kurosawa was able to bridge that gap between the Japanese sensibilities and the West and make those definitive films.”
The move to animation won’t be the only big change in the fourth film: Miller said everyone’s favorite Main Force Patrol officer, “Mad” Max Rockatansky – aka Mel Gibson – won’t be taking part. “We’ll probably go a different route” in voicing the film, he said. He also noted that the Mad Max videogame revealed in March of last year is still in the works but that it’s still “a couple of years” away from release. “We’re in the early stages writing and designing,” he said. “A really good game you need two and half years. And for good anime you need two years.”
The idea of Mad Max without Mel Gibson’s voice may be alarming on the surface but what some people don’t realize is that the original North American release of Miller’s 1979 pre-apocalypse classic also didn’t feature Gibson’s voice. As an unknown actor at the time, he, along with virtually everyone else in the film, was overdubbed by American voice actors to make the movie seem “less foreign” for U.S. audiences. Interested in seeing the real deal? Check it out on YouTube.