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Ron Howards’ Formula One movie Rush to be released in September 2013

By Berthold Bouman

Oscar-winning movie director Ron Howard is currently working on the movie Rush, a Formula One film about the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the 1970’s. The movie highlights the 1976 championship-deciding Japanese Grand Prix at a rainy and foggy Fuji circuit, and of course the fiery accident of Lauda in 1976 at the Nurburgring, which almost claimed his life.

Chris Hemsworth (James Hunt) and Daniel Brühl (Niki Lauda) star in the movie Rush

According to the official Rush website the movie is, “set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula One racing, Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed — handsome English playboy Hunt and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Lauda.

“Taking us into their personal lives on and off the track, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error. If you make one mistake, you die.”

Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) plays the role of Hunt, while Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) stars as Lauda. Contrary to popular belief, Lauda and Hunt were friends off-track — they even shared hotel rooms — but on track they were enemies and the pair fought many battles. The cast also includes Olivia Wilde, Natalie Dormer, Alexandra Maria Lara and Christian McKay.

The $65 million movie was shot on several locations, but to shoot the race scenes Howard and his crew travelled to Cadwell Park and Donington Park in the UK and of course the famous Lauda crash was re-enacted at the German Nurburgring at the exact same location the Austrian crashed (see second video). Howard also used many of the original 1970s Formula One cars, and even managed to get the original famous six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 on the set.

American Howard, who became famous playing teenager Richie Cunningham in the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, also produced Hollywood blockbusters like Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon and The Da Vinci Code.

It is certainly not going to be a documentary like the 2010 Senna movie directed by Asif Kapadia. In 2011 Howard said to the official Formula One website about the film, “It’s going to be a motion picture. It will be fascinating, sizzling, sexy and entertaining in the mould of Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon and A Beautiful Mind.”

Asked why he chose Formula One he said, “There are two reasons. Firstly, I am a huge fan of sports — almost any kind of sport — not just motor racing. Secondly, I am always in search of a good story with great characters.

“Peter Morgan, who did the script for Frost/Nixon, has known Niki Lauda for quite some time and started digging for information about 1976, when Niki had his accident and then literally rose again like a phoenix to fight James Hunt for the title. Peter has written a mesmerizing script — not only for Formula One fans, but also for everybody hooked on sports and drawn to extraordinary characters.”

The movie is currently in post-production and Universal Pictures will release the movie in September 2013. Until then, enjoy the behind-the-scenes video!

Lauda’s accident at the Nurburgring re-enacted, video by


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