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The last full throttle attempt to mount a live-action Mad Max IV stalled in 2003. Pretty much every year since then Mel Gibson has done something – either professionally or, not to put too fine a point on it, unprofessionally – to convince me the film would never get made. Turns out I was wrong. George Miller has plans to get the film underway again, and this time he won’t be inviting the star of the initial trilogy along for the thrill ride.

Speaking to MTV, Miller has revealed parallel films for an animated Mad Max IV and tie-in video game based on the same basic storyline. The film is to be animated in full-on stereoscopic 3D, and the game is being devised in collaboration with Cory Barlog, game director of God of War 2.

Miller persists in calling the film anime. He’ll definitely be taking inspiration from Japanese toons, but not without mixing things up a bit.

The anime is an opportunity for me to shift a little bit about what anime is doing because anime is ripe for an adjustment or sea change. It’s coming in games and I believe it’s the same in anime. There’s going to be a hybrid anime where it shifts more towards Western sensibilities. Kurosawa was able to bridge that gap between the Japanese sensibilities and the West and make those definitive films.

He’s just evoked Kurosawa. Will those shoes prove too big for Mr. Happy Feet to fill?

Miller doesn’t want to even approach Gibson, saying that they’d “probably go a different route” with the casting. A round of applause on that one, I think. I like Signs as much as much more than the next man, but if I never see Gibson in another film ever again, it’ll be too soon.*

Barlog has previously blogged about his collaboration with Miller. Last October he posted about their work on the game’s story and play mechanics:

George and I have put the final touches on the Mad Max story and game design structure and mechanics. My last trip to Sydney in September marked the completion of that stuff. I gotta’ say, and I know I am totally biased here, but I gotta say that this story – as well as this game – is pretty freaking bad ass!! I really can’t wait to get this game out there.

It has been such an incredible ride working so closely with George. I feel like my skills as a storyteller increase exponentially with every meeting we have.  We have so many sensibilities that are similar, yet so many that push each other in directions we would never have thought to go. I am learning so much from him. I feel a lot like Daniel san in Karate Kid 2.

Exciting business.

*In all other respects, I’m really looking forward to Edge of Darkness.

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