Fourth “Mad Max” Delayed A Year

George Miller’s long gestating fourth go at “Mad Max” has hit another speed hump.

Originally aiming to kick off filming around Broken Hill in the Australian state of New South Wales early next year, the production has been shut down and filming is now not expected to kick off until February 2012 reports The Australian.

Pre-production has also been put on hold and won’t recommence until either August or November next year. There’s no word as yet if this will affect casting on the two-film shoot, the first of which which to follow a convoy of women known as the ‘Fives Wives’ who require protection during a road trip, protection in the form of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz and Adelaide Clemens were also set to star.

This is another delay following on from one in July when unseasonal rains left the normally arid Broken Hill region too fertile for filming. It’s a surprisingly late one this time considering some second unit sequences were already shot and many custom-made vehicles were apparently constructed.

Though no reason is specified as to the delay, the strong local dollar is likely to have had a major influence on the decision. Expected to reach and pass parity with the U.S. dollar, the Aussie dollar’s over performance these past few months has raised concern that it could kill the film altogether if the budget rises as well.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for the Australian film industry as studios in Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast sit empty while many local film industry professionals are out of work as international productions look for cheaper and closer places to shoot. The embarrassing and very public PR debacle over the MEAA’s labor dispute concerning “The Hobbit” is also not helping matters.