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How Mel Gibson was cast in Mad Max after vicious fistfight

Mel Gibson starred as Mad Max in the 1979 movie (Image: GETTY)


How Mel Gibson was cast in Mad Max after vicious fistfight


The tale of Mel Gibson’s audition is nearly as famous as his renowned performance as Mad Max in the first three installments of the sci-fi blockbuster.

The 1979 movie had a shoestring $350,000 budget and included a ton of up-coming stars, including Gibson. George Miller, the director, organized some local tryouts for individuals to participate in his post-apocalyptic adventure film since he couldn’t afford to pay professional actors at the time.

It’s sort of funny to hear how Gibson got the part of Max in the first place; he was reportedly dropping off a buddy for an audition when someone managed to get a glimpse of Gibson before he departed. Given that he got into a bar brawl the previous night with a rugby team, it seems like he was in fairly poor condition, but he was told to return after he recovered.

Gibson recounted the narrative in the Mad Max Collector’s Edition Blu-bonus ray’s features. He said to his loyal followers: “I dropped a friend off because he’d been called into an audition. I drove him, dropped him, and waited for him in the waiting room with the girls at the casting agency – but I had had a very bad weekend.”

The young actor, who was just 23 at the time, was acting in the same rowdy manner as always. The celebrity, an American-Australian, said that the night before, he “got into a scuffle.” And for him, things didn’t turn out very well.

Mel Gibson took the role when he was just 23-years-old (Image: GETTY)

Gibson clarified:  “I didn’t come out looking too pretty. I took on half a rugby team and it just… it didn’t work out too well on my end. So I was looking pretty bad.” But this eccentric look was just what Mad Max bosses were looking for. He continued: “They took polaroids because I was – really – every colour of the rainbow, and they put them up, and they said: ‘Man, we need freaks in this film! When you heal up come and see us.'”

After recovering, Gibson returned, and when Mad Max director George Miller saw him, he was reportedly star-struck and prepared to contract him then and then. Max became a character that people couldn’t help but admire after the first movie since he adopted the loner position in a blasted wasteland where survival was a battle that only became tougher with each passing day. Gibson’s friend went on to become his costar in the same movie, which is quite amusing. It’s difficult to believe that someone else would have played Max if Gibson hadn’t dropped off his buddy for an audition and been recognized by the right person. One could feel that the effort and sacrifice that so many individuals have made over the years are a bit overdone since there are so many tales like this in Hollywood, but that impression soon fades.

Gibson went back to the audition two weeks later, and he received an unexpected reaction. He was questioned, “And you are?”

He said, pointing at the picture of himself covered in scrapes, “That’s me on the wall!”

Gibson said that after realizing who he was, they remarked, “Oh my god!” before setting up a meeting between him and Miller.

In Gibson’s memory, “They talked to George Miller and he just kind of gave me the part right there – it was real weird! And he said: ‘Can you memorise this?'”

A two-page script containing dialogue, including a lengthy emotional address, was given to the performer. Gibson smirked and said, “Yeah, sure! He went on: “I went out of the room and just kind of got the gist of what it was and I came out and, kind of, ad-libbed what I could remember. And I guess they bought it.”

Gibson’s name will undoubtedly come up whenever Mad Max is brought back to cinemas since he is the one who made the character conceivable in the first place, which is unfortunate because Tom Hardy performed quite well despite his absence from the most recent Mad Max film. Miller did seem to have been at his wit’s end when he discovered Gibson, and after meeting Mel, he was clear that this was the man he wanted to play the lead in the film. Although it’s difficult to tell what directors see when they scan the room for future stars, there are instances when even what they’re searching for doesn’t seem to be sufficient. In this instance, though, Miller saw something in Gibson that enabled everything to finally snap into place and come into focus the way he had desired.

Gibson’s career was greatly boosted by the film, which ran without too many hiccups, as he began to appear more often and finally rose to stardom. What if Miller had chosen someone else for the part is still a question that has to be asked. How would things have turned out? Though it’s difficult to tell, a fair hunch is that the film may not have performed as well.


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