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Threat of war stalling ‘Max’

Logistical problems with Namibia prompt delay

The prospect of a war in Iraq has prompted 20th Century Fox and Icon to postpone until fall the production start of “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

The fourth installment of the Mel Gibson series was expected to begin filming in Namibia in July. Instead, writer-director George Miller won’t unleash the Road Warrior and his futuristic mayhem until sometime in the fall.

“Any time you do a show like this, it is a massive undertaking with enormous prep time,” said Jim Gianopulos, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment. “In this case, it is about the movement of huge vehicles and a mass of people, and with the pending war and all the potential logistical consequences, we had the latitude to wait and let some of this stuff blow over before going into full-bore production. What we do have firmly in place is Mel and George.”

Gianopulos said the studio, Gibson and Miller are fully committed to shoot the film in Namibia. Fox had penciled in a tentative summer 2004 release date, but Gianopulos said the studio won’t know if the film can keep that date until an actual start date is set. Fox also has on the summer schedule the Alex Proyas-directed Will Smith starrer “I, Robot.”