Arguably one of the most ambitious filmmakers going around in 2017, Australian George Miller has recently been linked to The Batman. The massive DC project has come under fire in recent weeks following the news that Ben Affleck has pulled out as director. Leaving the 71-year old as a potential replacement.
Given his success with the Mad Max franchise, the Academy Award winner has demonstrated a versatility with other titles including Babe and Happy Feet. Alongside the likes of Denis Villeneuve, Gavin O'Connor and Matt Reeves, the studio has a wealth of options to explore. At least, should they opt for someone with a grand vision.
Mel The Great Paradox
Helping to be a major part in the rise of Mel Gibson's career, Miller was quizzed by The Weekly on Australia's ABC as to whether his former star is a better actor or director.
"He (Mel Gibson) is an extremely good actor," replied Miller. "He's very steeped in Shakespeare, very verbal, very skilled like it almost comes naturally. But as good an actor as he is, he is a great director. Whatever you think of Mel, there's no question about his abilities as a director. By the time we were doing the second Max Mad, he would... he's not one of these actor who would run straight to his trailer.
Wherever we were, he would just sit on the set and watch everything and one day I said, 'Hey Mel, you're going to be directing one day,' and he sort of nodded and smiled."
Up for an Oscar for his film Hacksaw Ridge, Miller was asked whether that recognition would go a way to dissolving his controversial past.
"I don't know what Oscars mean," Miller admitted. "There is a terrible sorrow to Mel. I remember when I saw or heard some of those tapes and I actually started to cry. I'd never done that with someone before. I thought (about) the pain and sorrow and torture and all that. In a way, I think that's what makes actors great in a way - that paradox... He's a very kind, lovely guy. But that dark stuff roiling in there, I think that's what makes actors fascinating in some way."
Going In Blind as George Switches Stethoscope For Film
Working as a general practitioner in the 1970s, Miller remarked that he became a director by accident.
"I didn't save lives (laughs). It wasn't a deliberate thing. Back then, there was really no career to be had in film. I was a doctor but I was really really interested in film mainly and had a real sense of enquiry, and wanted to understand this thing we call film language was and the technology of it. With this whole group of people, we'd go out with no money, we'd make little films (where) we'd borrow equipment and work on each others films. One day I looked up and realized I'd spent more time making films than I was being a doctor."
"I was lucky early to have success with Mad Max. That was the first time I'd properly been on a film set and I'd have no idea what I was doing, none of us really did. We had that drive, we'd plan it as best we could."
Given the iconic standing Mad Max has in the action genre, Miller was asked whether the name helped the franchise.
"I don't think so," he responded. "You have to fire on all cylinders and a title is really critical. I mean, there can be great titles and bad movies and it doesn't mean they'll be successful. But there was one point with Mad Max where we thought, 'It sounds too much like a comedy.' So for a while there the distributor Roadshow said, 'Think of other titles.' And we were going to call it Heavy Metal. Luckily someone said, 'No, there's something about the words Mad Max...' This was just before it was due to be released."