Date: 3rd March 2003

War jitters delay Mad Max

Production of the fourth instalment of the Mad Max movie series, in which desert warriors fight over scarce oil resources, has been postponed because of fears of impending war in Iraq.
Mad Max: Dirty Road, Australian filmmaker George Miller's long-planned fourth title in the futuristic hit series, was due to start filming in the southwest African nation of Namibia in July with Mel Gibson as its star. Now its backer, 20th Century Fox, has postponed production until spring 2004.

Jim Gianopulos, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, said Australian production house Kennedy Miller's project was "a massive undertaking", requiring an enormous amount of preparation time.

"We had the latitude to wait and let some of this stuff blow over before going into full-bore production", the executive told entertainment journal Variety.

Miller was unavailable for comment yesterday but last week was trying to find out if studio delays meant the production was only postponed, or cancelled, a local industry insider told The Australian.

The futuristic sequel is one of two blockbuster movies with Australian connections to be affected by fears of conflict in the Middle East. Historical epic Troy, with Australians Eric Bana and Rose Byrne, is likely to move production from Muslim Morocco -- possibly to Mexico -- following reports the studio could not guarantee the safety of the cast and crew.

The Australian

Source: Press Release