Off schedule, over budget: is new Mad Max film in trouble?

Mel Gibson in <i>Mad Max</i>.
Mel Gibson in Mad Max.

Australian director George Miller's road to making a new Mad Max movie is proving hazardous.

Hollywood studio Warner Bros. is concerned enough about the production of Mad Max: Fury Road veering off schedule and over budget that it is sending a representative to the set in Namibia.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, studio head Jeff Robinov flew to the African set a few weeks ago to evaluate the fourth Mad Max movie, which had fallen at least five days behind schedule.

It has now dispatched producer Denise di Novi to the set as "the eyes and ears of Warners" while filming continues.

Robinov told The Hollywood Reporter he is optimistic the production, which has a budget of more than $100 million, will still wrap on schedule in November.

Fury Road has been shooting in Namibia since July with Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) taking over from Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky. Charlize Theron has shaven her head to play the one-armed villain Furiosa.

With only limited film services and infrastructure, Namibia was always going to be challenging place to film. It was chosen after consistent rain, which made made the desert too green and covered with flowers to pass as a post-apocalyptic landscape, twice delayed filming at Broken Hill.

Almost a decade ago, Miller came within weeks of shooting Fury Road in Namibia before financial issues and the Iraq war intervened.

Before heading to the set earlier this year, cinematographer John Seale told Fairfax he was excited about what Miller was planning.

"This one I swear won't disappoint," he said. "It's going to be a very deep and meaningful film as well as an astonishing action film.

George Miller has got an amazing concept of an apocalyptic world and the people who live in it."

But a survey trip to the African country revealed the challenge the filmmakers faced.

"The film support system in Namibia is minimal so ... a lot of it has to be shipped in, flown in or somehow cargoed into the place and back out again at the end," Seale said.

This story Off schedule, over budget: is new Mad Max film in trouble? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.