By Simon Dang | The Playlist April 22, 2012 at 9:23AM
In development and delayed for years -- first with Mel Gibson for a planned shoot in the early aughts that was delayed due to the Iraq war and then in 2011 with Tom Hardy with production pushed back due to weather conditions -- the fourth installment to the 'Mad Max' franchise will finally be fronting cameras this month in Namibia.
There's been plenty of tidbits in the past little while about vehicles and other equipment being transported over to the African country but, in the first piece of casting news for quite some time, supermodel Abbey Lee Kershaw has reportedly been added to the cast, which is led by Hardy (and his beard) along with Charlize Theron, who plays some sort of amputee warrior.
Plenty of other names have been thrown around as well, including Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough, Adelaide Clemens and Miller-favorite Hugh Keays-Byrne, though we're not sure if they're all still on board considering the endless delays. One name not returning is Teresa Palmer, who was linked to the project a while ago but whose role is reportedly the one Kershaw is taking on now.
So, what do we know about the film's plot? Put simply, not much. Miller recently revealed that this iteration is more or less the same as the failed 2003 Gibson-led version, which was suppose to take things in "a new direction" and will potentially be the start of a new trilogy. When things were coming together in 2010, the story was also noted to be set a short while after the events of "Mad Max: Thunderdome" with Hoult playing a character named Nux and the group of young actresses (Kravitz, Keough, Clemens and, for a short time, Palmer) part of a convoy known as the "Five Wives" being pursued by the bad guys.
The HeraldSun, who broke this bit of news, isn't too clear on the specifics either saying, "Obviously it's set in a post-apocalyptic world, and women, especially beautiful women, are scarce, so men have been locking them up in cages. Abbey is one of them. She's perfect."
So is Kershaw one of these (caged?) "Five Wives"? Guess we'll have to to wait and see. Of course, there's also been rumors of a back-to-back shoot for 'Fury Road' and a sequel titled "Furiosa," which may or may not see Theron replace Hardy as the lead in the second film, though it remains to be seen if that's still the plan.
If all goes well and Miller can get cameras rolling soon, surely this is a perfect film for Warner Bros. to add to their summer blockbuster slate next year. Hardy is set for major exposure this year with big roles in "The Dark Knight Rises" and John Hillcoat's "Lawless" with studios alike banking on general audiences becoming as enamored by him as we all are. And his own franchise will certainly take him to the next level.