George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road may have spent almost 20 years stuck in development hell, but the filmmaker had always envisioned the project without Mel Gibson in the lead. The 1979 original was the breakthrough role of the actor’s career, and the sequel remains one of the greatest action movies ever made, but Miller was adamant that the title hero be recast after the Lethal Weapon star had aged out of consideration.
Tom Hardy, 22 years Gibson’s junior, was chosen to play the new Max Rockatansky instead, but in terms of the franchise’s canon, he’s the same character, just at a different stage of his life. The choice to recast was a wise one, too, as Fury Road left audiences with their jaws on the floor when it exploded onto the scene and almost instantly gained a reputation as a modern action classic, scoring the rare combination of box office success, universal critical acclaim and awards season glory.
The post-apocalyptic blockbuster earned ten Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, and ended up walking away with six prizes in the technical categories. Gibson may have been pushing 60 when Fury Road was released, but deepfake technology has now given us a glimpse into how he’d have looked as Max during his heyday.
The actor hadn’t even turned 30 yet when Beyond Thunderdome debuted in 1985, meaning he was younger the last time he played the role than Hardy was when he first ventured into The Wasteland, and this is definitely one of the most convincing deepfakes we’ve seen yet, giving us a great indication of how Mad Max: Fury Road could have looked if Miller had moved on to the fourth installment much sooner than the 30 years it eventually took to bring it to the screen.