When I heard that Oscar Award winning director Ron Howard would be directing a film about Formula 1 entitled RUSH, I was filled with excitement and dread. Howard is a truly talented film maker who has directed films in many genre with a human touch. The interviews with Howard about the process hinted that he was taking his subject seriously, but in the back of my mind -- as an F1 fan -- there was the underlying fear that this would be yet another spectacle film and not one that focused on story. F1 is filled with compelling stories, and I thought it would be a shame if a modern F1 film failed to capture some of the sport's magnificent history.
Then I saw the first trailer for RUSH...and all my fears melted away.
RUSH focuses on the 1976 rivalry between drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Lauda had been World Champion in 1975, and would win the title two more times before his retirement, but 1976 was a year of struggle and a near fatal accident. Niki's story alone would make for a compelling film, but add to the seriousness of Lauda's season the playfulness of James Hunt and you have a combination of elements that could make for a wonderful film. Hunt's party boy attitude is legendary and when one of my favorite drivers -- Kimi Raikkonen -- wants to race incognito in non-F1 events he has been known to use James Hunt as his nom-d'fun.
You can see the real footage of Lauda's accident in this short piece:
And you can catch a glimpse of Hunt's wild personality here:
If you are wondering what racing films are worth watching, here is my list of 6 or so racing films that are worth your time (in no particular order).
- GRAND PRIX
- THE LAST AMERICAN HERO
- TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY
- HEART LIKE A WHEEL
- SPEED RACER
- GRAND PRIX: THE KILLER YEARS