Greengrass directing Niki Lauda film?
For those fans of Formula 1, whatever era, you should know who the legendary Niki Lauda is, for he's still involved with the team and carries with him the scars of just how dangerous the sport is. While racing against the equally famous James Hunt for the 1976 championship he crashed and was caught in a burning car.
He suffered severe burns, toxic gas inhalation, and despite being immediately conscious he fell into a coma afterwards. Six weeks later he was back on the track and racing for the championship again, finishing fourth in his first race back.
The harrowing part of this story, for a racer at least, was yet to come. For at the final race of the season Niki Lauda was ahead of James Hunt by just three points, but with torrential rain on the circuit Lauda thought it too dangerous to continue and retired. Despite Hunt having a puncture and dropping down, he finished third and won by a single point.
To add to his legendary career Niki Lauda retired from Formula 1 in 1978 and came back in 1982 and won his third race outright, and it was in 1984 that he won the championship from Alain Prost by a single point. That was his third championship win in an amazing career.
His is a great story, and it's not just about the crash and the races and championship that followed, but everything else that happened in the background. These were the years where the team politics were really starting to come to the fore and were as interesting as the drivers themselves.
So what does this all have to do with Paul Greengrass? Well in a look at his current projects at New York Magazine through /Film, we hear that amongst all the projects he's tied to it's the story of Lauda that is making it to the front.
Peter Morgan, who wrote The Queen and Frost/Nixon (Filmstalker review), has been writing a film about Niki Lauda and Formula 1, hopefully the first of many films on the subject. We've heard before about a James Hunt film in development and the Senna film on release now, but there are many more great stories of amazing drivers, exciting championships and intrigue and politics galore behind the scenes. It's not just about fast cars you know.
This new film is called Rush and was confirmed by Niki Lauda himself through ESPN, and "insiders" on this latest article apparently reveal that this story isn't all about Lauda, but about his battle with Hunt for the championship that was interrupted with his terrible crash and it will also follow the rivalry off the track too, something any good racing film should do.
While there are other projects mentioned in the article, we know about them already and they all seem like films that Greengrass would either be comfortable making or has made in some form already. However a Formula 1 film hasn't been done since the days of Grand Prix, when John Frankenheimer made the amazing film that still stands well today, with real actors racing real cars against real drivers.
Making a new F1 film would be a real challenge, especially one that is about the drivers and their rivalry and with such an epic battle between them, this will be a story about people and relationships with the racing taking a vital and close second place.
Surely this is the film for Greengrass, something new, something challenging, and before Hollywood gets their teeth into the genre and starts rolling out the F1 films...hopefully.