First look at Tom Hardy as Mad Max

Signed picture reveals the British actor as the grizzled road warrior

A first picture has emerged online of Tom Hardy in the new 'Mad Max' film.

The British star of 'The Dark Knight Rises' is playing Max Rockatansky in 'Mad Max: Fury Road', helmed by the series' original director George Miller.

[Related story: Mad Max 'amazing' for Hardy]

Hardy... windswept as Mad Max (Copyright: Warner Bros)

The picture is one signed by the actor for a crew-member on set, and shows Hardy in Max's trademark ragged, post-apocalyptic leathers.

Initially unconfirmed, Warner Bros has now said that this is indeed a shot from the film.

The production of the film has now wrapped, though it has not been an easy project.

The fourth film in Miller's series had been in development for around 25 years, before eventually being confirmed in 2009 after various production issues and false starts.

Alongside Hardy as the titular road warrior, it also stars Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Riley Keough.

It's also thought that original star Mel Gibson may have a small cameo role in the film too.

The action is based a short time after the last installment, 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome', according to reports

The official synopsis reads: “Mad Max is caught up with a group of people fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa. This movie is an account of the Road War which follows. It is based on the Word Burgers of the History Men and eyewitness accounts of those who survived.”

It will hit screens some time in 2013.