Formula 1 Niki Lauda film loses director
I had written about the Formula 1 film Rush which which looked at Niki Lauda's career and his battle with rival James Hunt before, where Lauda himself had revealed that the film was in development and that Paul Greengrass was the man to take it forward.
However news today reveals that Greengrass has passed on directing the film and there's a new director in the frame.
Now this is where I leap in and say, as usual, the story comes from unnamed sources, however the L.A. Times does make it rather clear that they don't want to be named because they aren't authorised to speak for Paul Greengrass, and that's a little more than the average "insider source" we hear from.
They say that he's passed on this project in order to do others and that Ron Howard was being offered the task of directing.
As I mentioned in the previous story, the film would concentrate on Niki Lauda's Formula 1 championship battle with James Hunt which saw Lauda's terrible crash saw his car engulfed in flames and he received terrible burns to his face. Despite that he came back to racing that season and continued to fight for the championship against Hunt.
The film will follow them on and off the track, as they shared very different upbringings and lives before and after their Formula 1 battles, plus there's the whole comeback element which saw Lauda return from the horrific crash, race again, retire, come out of retirement to win races and a championship, and be a successful businessman who is still involved with F1 to this day.
This could mark the beginning of a great period of motorsport films, we've just seen the Senna documentary and there's word of a James Hunt biographical film in development with Steven Spielberg's company at the moment and a loosely connected F1 film called Racing Patriots from Eric Stoltz which will follow three motor racing champions who worked with the French Resistance fighting during World War II.
The difficulty for these films is the realism. We've seen this with other modern racing films which have failed to capture the reality of older films such as Grand Prix and Le Mans, but if this production does ramp up the budget and follow the example of Grand Prix, they could use real drivers, real cars and real circuits and create the races needed for the films themselves.
Could we see a rise in Formula 1 films? Perhaps, and this could be a good time for it too as F1 returns to America next year and the sport has never been more popular round the rest of the world (yes Hollywood, there is a larger audience out there), appearing in more countries than ever before.