With video games enjoying a huge moment in the last couple of years, Sony must be thrilled that it has finally figured out how to bring racing title ‘Gran Turismo’ to the screen.
With director Neill Blomkamp –– better known for the sci-fi likes of ‘District 9’ and ‘Elysium’ –– in the driving seat, ‘Gran Turismo’ is essentially adapting the game, but instead of taking the ‘Need for Speed’ route and trying to wrap a narrative around something that doesn’t have one, it’s taking on a real-life story.
The script for this one comes from ‘American Sniper’s Jason Hall and ‘King Richard’s Zach Baylin, but has also seen work from Will Dunn, and Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber.
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What is the story of ‘Gran Turismo’?
The film will follow the impressive tale of Jann Mardenborough (‘Midsommar’s Archie Madekwe), a British teenager who in 2011 entered GT Academy, an esports tournament created to find ‘Gran Turismo’ players who were good enough at the game to be able to competitively drive real-life race cars. Mardenborough was victorious in the GT Academy competition and became a race car driver for Nissan, competing in the Dubai 24 Hour endurance race.
In the trailer, we see Jann arriving with other GT Academy contestants and being put through the wringer by racing trainer Jack Salter (David Harbour) who puts them through a rigorous boot camp to get them in shape. It’s one thing to know how to hit every corner on a world-class racetrack and to overtake in a simulation of a Nissan GT-R LM, but as Jann finds out, it’s hard to do it when the g-forces and hot temperatures of an actual race car are bearing down on you.
“If you miss a racing line in a game you can reset,” warns Jack. “If you miss it in a real race, you could die.”
Who else is in ‘Gran Turismo’?
Apart from Madekwe, we have Djimon Hounsou playing Jann’s father, who doesn’t exactly share his enthusiasm for the game, and warns him that he’ll need to get a real job if he wants to make it in life.
Orlando Bloom plays Danny Moore, a hungry marketing executive who organizes the academy in the first place and hires Salter to train the recruits.
Also in the cast are Darren Barnet, Josha Stradowski and Geri Horner (the latter of whom plays Jann’s mother).
According to co-writer Zach Baylin, the movie is more closely modeled on underdog movies than your usual adventurous game adaptation:
“We talked about how this story could have elements of ‘Rocky,’ in being about a character on the outside of an industry, who has a real desire to not just get into a particular sport, but to prove something to himself and his family. We spoke a lot about the original ‘Top Gun’ and that idea of a character surrounded by the best of the best, coming in to learn what it means to sit in these extremely fast vehicles. What it means to have to be part of a team. What it means to have to overcome your own insecurities and ego in order to pilot something that can kill you and kill other people.”
‘Gran Turismo’ speeds into theaters on August 11th.
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‘Gran Turismo’ is produced by PlayStation Productions, 2.0 Entertainment, and Columbia Pictures. The movie is scheduled to release in theaters on August 11th, 2023.