Rush featurette reveals racing authenticity
I have gone on about Formula 1 as being a gold mine of stories for scripts, there's not just the racing but the team tactics on and off the grid and the politics that make it a much bigger sport than just the action on race day. There has been one film that captured the real Formula 1 better than anything else and that was John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix.
The reason it worked so well is that it featured real cars, real racers and real racing. It got to the heart of what Formula 1 is by putting the film in the middle of Formula 1. Since then we've seen films trying to capture the essence of racing with CG and failing, so it's been exciting to hear from the beginning that Ron Howard's Formula 1 film Rush was going old school and a featurette released at the weekend revealed just that.
I was watching the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday on the BBC and they showed a short segment on the filming of Rush, and on Sunday when I watched the race at a friend's house on Sky, they interviewed Ron Howard himself.
Howard revealed that on Sunday it was one of his first days off from the production of Rush having just finished filming, something I immediately tweeted as I'm desperate to see Rush being a big F1 fan.
In the featurette shown on Saturday we got to see much more of the filming and hear from the actors and key people involved. It's the typical tacked on the end of the extras featurette, but to see it before release it's far more interesting.
The key thing that it reveals is the authenticity of the filming, something that John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix captured so well, and in the featurette we see real Formula 1 cars of the day sitting on the grid waiting for a start and being raced by cameras and round circuits.
So not only does the filming look authentic but Chris Hemsworth looks great as James Hunt as does Daniel Brühl as Niki Lauda. Howard says that his greatest desire for the film is that the Formula 1 fans feel respected appreciated by it, and with that sentiment and the authenticity shown during filming, I think we just might.
For those of you who don't know about the story that Peter Morgan has written for the film Rush here's a quick catch up. The story takes place during a dangerous time in F1 when safety features were much less stringent than they are now. The legendary Jackie Stewart had been campaigning the governing body of the sport and individual circuits to improve safety for the drivers and the spectators, and the dangers were very prevalent, far more than they seem today where the sport seems distanced from the days where there would be drivers deaths almost every year.
The film follows Niki Lauda and James Hunt battling for the 1976 F1 championship when Lauda has a terrible crash after only a few laps and with a full tank of fuel his car bursts into a fireball. He's badly burned and misses races, dropping in the points as Hunt moves forward to victory.
His story didn't end there though, he was badly burned, inside and out, and despite the pain he was feeling he was back in a car six weeks later fighting for that championship once again against James Hunt. His first race back he finished fourth and was still bandaged and bleeding, but back in the car.
I won't tell you how it goes onto end if you don't know the story and I will give you a heads up here that watching after Howard tells you his thoughts for the film and Formula 1 fans will reveal the outcome of the championship for both drivers, something you may want to switch off.
I still can't believe that the BBC broadcast this and tacked on the ending of the story right afterwards. Still, it was for F1 fans and it's great to see how authentic this film is going to be.
Here's the full four minute Rush featurette as seen on BBC F1:
Oh man, am I excited for this film.