'Mad Max' Prequel Recasts Major Star

The Mad Max spinoff Furiosa is getting a new star. Candyman actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was set to star in the movie, but he was replaced by actor Tom Burke. The British actor is best known for playing Orson Welles in David Fincher's Mank and starred as Fedya Dolokhov in the 2016 War & Peace miniseries.

It's not clear what project Abdul-Mateen chose to make instead of Furiosa, but sources told Deadline it is a secret passion project he is developing. Production could start sooner than expected, so he chose to leave Furiosa. The actor has been in-demand since his breakthrough role as the villain Manta in Aquaman and his Emmy-winning performance as Doctor Manhattan/Cal Abar in Watchmen. He also recently starred in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Candyman. He plays Morpheus in the upcoming The Matrix Resurrections.

Furiosa stars Last Night in Soho star Anya Taylor-Joy as a younger version of the character Charlize Theron played in the 2015 hit Mad Max: Fury Road. Chris Hemsworth also has a part in the film, which will track Furiosa's origin story. Mad Max mastermind George Miller is directing, co-writing, and producing with his longtime producing partner Doug Mitchell. Village Roadshow will co-finance with Miller's Kennedy Miller Mitchell production banner producing.

Miller created the Mad Max franchise with Byron Kennedy, who produced the original 1979 film starring Mel Gibson in the title role. Gibson also starred as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Tom Hardy played the part in Fury Road, which is one of the most acclaimed movies of the 21st century. Fury Road won four Oscars and became a rare genre movie nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director. The film also grossed $375.6 million worldwide. Furiosa is the first spin-off in the franchise and is now scheduled to hit theaters in May 2024.

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This is the first major studio project for Burke, 40, although he has been making movies and TV shows since 1999. His film credits include I Want Candy, Donkey Punch, Only God Forgives, The Invisible Woman, The Souvenir, and the upcoming The Wonder starring Florence Pugh. His television credits include Utopia, The Musketeers, War & Peace, In Love with Barbara, and Agatha Christie's Poirot. Since 2017, he has played Cormoran Strike in the BBC adaptations of J.K. Rowling's crime novels featuring the character.