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Is Hollywood willing to give F1 another chance?

NEWS STORY
06/01/2022

With Drive to Survive appearing to have captured the imagination of the American public, has the Netflix series also caught the eye of Hollywood?

Following a number of close encounters, few of which came anywhere near to hitting the spot, Hollywood is once again said to be looking to Formula One for inspiration.

According to the entertainment news website Deadline, Apple Studios is in talks to make an F1-based movie starring Brad Pitt.

Other names linked with the project include Joseph Kosinski, director of Tron: Legacy, Oblivion and the forthcoming sequel to Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick, as well as Ehren Kruger, the screenwriter responsible for Arlington Road, the US remake of The Ring, three movies from the Transformer franchise, Dumbo (2019) and Top Gun: Maverick, and legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the man who brought the likes of Con Air, Enemy of the State, Gone in 60 Seconds, Black Hawk Down, Veronica Guerin and several of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies to our screens.

According to the Deadline report, another name linked with the project is that of seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton - so that's what he's been doing since Abu Dhabi.

The plot is said to centre on a race veteran who comes out of retirement to assist a young rookie, which regulars may recognise as the premise behind Sylvester Stallone's 2001 masterpiece Drivel, sorry Driven.

While Driven was originally meant to be based in F1, such were the hurdles placed in his way by Bernie Ecclestone, the veteran Rocky and Rambo star eventually used IndyCar as the theme.

Over the years, Hollywood has enjoyed a long, hit and (mainly) miss relationship with F1, which the late, great Mike Lawrence best summarised in his 2006 feature Movies.

A few years after Mike's piece, it was revealed that cult director, David Cronenberg, the man behind a number of acclaimed films including Crash, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Scanners and Videodrome, had plans for an F1 movie in 1986 but these were thwarted by Bernie Ecclestone.

The Canadian, speaking after the Venice Film Festival, revealed that he was recruited by Paramount Pictures to make a movie based on F1, the first since John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix in 1966 - assuming you forget Bobby Deerfield (top) in 1977, which is probably the best thing you can do.

However, such were the demands of Ecclestone the idea was scrapped.

"I had meetings with Bernie to talk to him about how we might structure a Formula One movie that was modern at the time and could we, for example, invent a team and have a pit for our team," Cronenberg told the Independent.

Revealing that he had planned to use 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg as camera-car driver, Cronenberg revealed that at first Ecclestone was all in favour of the idea. "All of these things he was talking about as being possible," he said. "Of course, ultimately it would have come down to money."

A keen F1 fan, who has raced historic F1 cars, Cronenberg, though frustrated by Ecclestone's attitude, eventually used much of his research for a screenplay about Phil Hill's championship winning 1961 season. However, that movie project was also subsequently shelved.

Cronenberg's revelation came as Ron Howard began work on his movie based around James Hunt's winning season Rush, and as Asif Kapadia's feature documentary on Ayrton Senna continued to win over fans of the sport and non-fans alike.

While Ecclestone put up hurdles for Hollywood, Liberty Media, taking note of the success Drive to Survive has enjoyed, is sure to welcome talk of a movie, especially with an A-lister like Pitt involved, with open arms.

Indeed, one can imagine that Mr Kruger will be hard-pressed to match the screenwriting abilities of some of those already working in-house at F1 towers.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 07/01/2022 11:36

"@ Tokyo OZ....Yes, the drama queens are mainly off the track and I'd nominate Wolff as being the biggest. His acting for the cameras is GG [ Golden Globe ] standard but if he keeps working at it he could impress all the members of SAG. Abu Dhabi was his best but the big 'F them all' in Brazil was the cream of the crop. I'm a little surprised that Mercedes were seen to go along with it!!! I have no problem with what he said but I do have a problem when it goes without comment that it was directed at the FIA and most likely Michael Masi. Very distasteful and low rent.
"

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2. Posted by TokyoAussie, 07/01/2022 3:39

"I wonder if F1 is willing to give Hollywood another chance?
There is precious little drama on track. Drama queens, maybe, but not much drama. All the drama of late is between the team principals and FIA stewards. Then again, it would be nice to have those drama roles reversed, such that the racing is interesting again, even if fictional."

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3. Posted by kenji, 07/01/2022 0:57

"@ Defiant...Well said but I do believe that as a diehard F1 follower you'll most likely 'sneak a peek' just to satisfy your curiosity as to whether or not it fullfills your expectations....good or bad! Rock on...."

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4. Posted by Defiant, 06/01/2022 20:26

"@kenji you are completely correct about opinions, they are an interesting thing. Everyone has one.
Yeah, I'm a Brit living in mooseland and have worked in the U.S a lot, I think your evaluation (as a generalisation) is pretty accurate, with obvious exceptions. So I do understand the aim of DTS, all they want to do is encourage more North American interest, but I doubt I'll watch another season for the very reason you pointed out, but I have watched the others. "

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5. Posted by kenji, 06/01/2022 10:06

"@ Defiant...Everyone is entitled to an opinion and the expression of same so all is good. In order to understand DTS it's absolutely necessary to understand the American psyche as a point of general focus. Americans don't think like Europeans, everything needs spice, everything. I spent a very long period working in and around America for American employers and was part of it. In the realms of filmed entertainment, to them, what was to us 'nuanced and laced with intrigue' was boring to them...if it lacked spice, controversy,[real or imagined] etc etc. I recall having breakfast one day in Los Vegas just prior to the 'shock and awe' scenario in Iraq and we were discussing what should be done to curb Saddam's raging murderous enterprise. One Studio Exec Prod/VP spoke up and proclaimed that it was all quite simple, 'let's nuke it and turn it into a car park'!!! That's the level I am working with. DTS is not as bad as people would have you believe....just think it through and if the product insults your intelligence don't watch. It's as simple as that. I will watch again and enjoy another F1 perspective purely for fun."

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6. Posted by Max Noble, 06/01/2022 7:39

"@Cobra Driver - Quite! Years ago I used to think “The X-Files” was a Sci-Fi drama. Then I started working in the US on a regular basis, and to my shock realised it was a documentary… :-)
"

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7. Posted by Defiant, 06/01/2022 3:35

"@kenji I know DTS has brought the profile of F1 to a bigger audience and that is ultimately a good thing, but the whole show has been a hyped up painful experience (IMO anyway). I still think its a missed opportunity, as so much could have come from it.
It reminds me of the Ice Road Truckers show. Utter torture.

That said, I could be called a hypocrite here, as I've watched all three seasons, so I'm guilty of being one of Netfix's statistics. A statistic that is probably making them think they are doing something good. In the words of Homer..... DOH!!!!!!

"

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8. Posted by Cobra Driver, 05/01/2022 9:37

"What do you mean they are going to make a movie about F1? What have I been watching these past few weeks? You mean all that was real? There really is a Christian Horner and all that garbage spewing from his mouth came from a living human being? Unbelievable! Oh well, this new movie will probably be the "pits".
"

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9. Posted by kenji, 04/01/2022 23:42

"If any film is actually produced then I'll not judge it until viewed. Yes, there have been multiple failures in the past but maybe a new effort will produce a decent result. I must admit though that I am still surprised by the number of people that take every opportunity to diss on DTS...It's an entertaining take on the series and if a few incidents appear to have been misinterpreted then so what? Sometimes the camera sees something that is otherwise overlooked....that doesn't deter from the overall goal of providing entertainment for a few hours surely?"

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10. Posted by Superbird70, 04/01/2022 21:07

"Just watched The Italian Job (1969). It makes me think a spec series could work (if they were Minis)."

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11. Posted by Burton, 04/01/2022 20:40

"@Editor what a great present, Oldboy is a very, very good movie."

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12. Posted by Roli, 04/01/2022 20:35

"What, and turn it into a total Circus? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO"

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13. Posted by Defiant, 04/01/2022 19:45

"oh god, please NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Has DTS not taught real fans anything?"

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14. Posted by Editor, 04/01/2022 18:45

"@ Burton

Yes, Crash in indeed "something".

That said, last night I watched a Korean film called 'Oldboy', definitely one of the strangest movies I have ever seen.

It was a present so I shall watch it again."

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15. Posted by Burton, 04/01/2022 18:19

"Cronenberg's Crash is quite...something, to say the least. Shame Bernie didn't give him the green light :P"

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