I agree that modern F1 is too sterile for a film, but it has enough characters and politics and stories to wind us up and get us more involved. Would people dislike Alonso or, alternatively, Hamilton/McLaren if it wasn’t for spygate? That fans can become so involved means the potential is always there to attract a film audience with a mixture of driving and story. But yes, anything from the last 20 years would probably be too commercial to look good in a film.
There’s something about racing movies that I just find really contrived and unrealistic. It seems impossible to make a good fictional racing movie because it all just seems so “that would never happen”-ish, and even though that’s what you look for in a movie, an interesting story, it just puts me off because some of the results are laughably bad.
It would be interesting to see a racing movie based on a real event (isn’t there going to be one based on Niki Lauda and James Hunt’s battles sometime fairly soon?).
As far as racing documentaries go, one of my favourites (considering I’m getting Senna for christmas so I can’t judge it just yet) is ‘Faster’ by Mark Neale. It’s about MotoGP in the transition era between the 500cc’s and the MotoGP era (around 2001 and 2002), though it also covers other interesting parts of the sport’s history, such as the duels between Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwants in the 80s/90s.
It was one of my reasons for getting into MotoGP, and I’d seriously reccommend it to anyone interested in MotoGP or anyone with even the vaguest interest in motorsport in general.
In case you haven’t seen the movie, I definitely recommend at least watching the opening sequence of Grand Prix. There’s some really beautiful sounds and images of racing. I love that they bring some of the imagery to the point of near-abstraction by removing it from outside context.
And just for good measure, enjoy half a lap (from the movie) around the old Zandvoort with no wings, no computers and no seatbelts. I can only imagine what this must feel like.
I found a little bit of information on Ron Howard’s Hunt-Lauda project, Rush, in the December 2011 issue of Top Gear Australia magazine. There wasn’t much, but it’s being written by Peter Morgan, who wrote The Queen, Frost/Nixon and started what would become Skyfall (though I disagreed with his interpretation of James Bond). Morgan said he met with Bernie Ecclestone, who apparently didn’t want the film to be “about Formula 1”, but Morgan said he was only ever treating the sport as a framing device to tell the stroy of “two men with different attitudes, philosophies and values” who simply happen to be Formula 1 drivers. It’s sounding like Frost/Nixon meets Rocky at two hundred kilometres an hour.
Sounds like a movie I would like to see.
I admit to being a little apprehensive about it. Like I said, I disliked Morgan’s interpretation of James Bond, and I find The Queen and Frost/Nixon to be quite boring. Morgan seems to value understanding characters above all else, which is fair enough, but he tends to do it by having one character studying the other. It was particularly evident in Frost/Nixon with David Frost trying to analyse Richard Nixon while Nixon tried to assess Frost. There’s no really introspective elements because he always seems to focus on events in a way that affects both characters equally. For example, if Morgan was writing a film about Senna and Prost, then it is unlikely that he would look at the political consequences of Suzuka in 1989. The film would likely show Senna and Prost colliding, but I doubt there would be much on Balestre’s interference with the race result, because it throws out the balance between Senna and Prost by showing an event that played out in favour of one, and that would force Morgan to commit to one character as the protagonist.
I have heard of the movies Morgan has done, but have not seen them. I hope the new movie covers both sides of the story and is as close to what really happened as possible.
Ive read Lauda`s autobiography and that part of it is something that must be done properly.
@johnf1fanatic – I very much doubt that Rush will be a blow-by-blow re-enactment of the 1976 season. For one, there is far too much content for a two-hour film. Morgan’s emphasis is not on what happened, or even how it came to pass – he tends to focus on why things happened the way they did. So I wouldn’t be waiting with baited breath for coverage of Hunt’s disqualification from Spain and reinstatement months later.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive’ is one of the best films I’ve seen. It’s not really a film about racing but the main character is prepping to become a racing driver, before other things happen.
It’s like a 70s b-movie but it moves along at a slow and dreamy pace. I love it.
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