Picked up by one of Ain’t It Cool’s legion of correspondents, this interview with Jeremy Renner in the Modesto Bee contains a bombshell of the highest order. Mad Max 4 (previously, and possibly still, subtitled Fury Road) might be on, and Renner might be Max.

The whole quote is this: “I’m also fighting to do the new Mad Max film… That might be next summer. I’m screen-testing and meeting George Miller.” 

Now, when he says “that might be next summer”, does he mean that the film might be shooting next year, or does he mean that it certainly is shooting next year and that he might be in it? Clearly he’s far from cast at the moment, but the fact that people are even auditioning means the project is suddenly further along the road than anyone quite realised. 

It’s also confirmation of Miller’s previous suggestion that the film, if it happened, would be sans Mel Gibson. “The time has gone where Mel can run around the wasteland,” he told Moviehole in late 2006. “I think the last opportunity was about four years ago and, y’know, the character’s lean and hungry. He was 21 when he first played Mad Max and he’s now in his 50s. Also I think he’s much more interested in what’s happening behind camera than in front.”

So we’re not going the Indy 4 route with an older Max. Renner has appearances in The Assassination of Jesse James and 28 Weeks Later under his belt, but is currently picking up serious buzz as the star of the Iraq War thriller The Hurt Locker.  Which is a little ironic, since Miller says the Iraq War is what derailed Mad Max 4 the first time around: “the American dollar collapsed against the Australian dollar so we lost our budget, and we couldn’t get the container ships out because of security…”

The Hurt Locker is released here on August 28th.

Wonder who else is attending those screen tests…

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