“…I’m sorry, you really think you’re going to take a kid who plays video games in their bedroom, you’re going to strap’em to a 200-MPH rocket? It’s going to tear them to pieces!” Sony Pictures has released the first official trailer for Gran Turismo, Neill Blomkamp’s new film based on Polyphony Digital’s seminal racing game franchise that sees a group of pro gamers train to become professional racers, backed by Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean), Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator), David Harbour (Stranger Things), a Spice Girl, and other stars. Blomkamp, who critics say hasn’t directed a good movie since District 9, revealed in a Q&A that he was initially uninterested in the project but ended up doing it because he is a car lover who owns three Nissan R35 GTRs ($116,040). Gran Turismo hits theaters this August.
From a YouTube description:
Based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough, the film is the ultimate wish fulfillment tale of a teenage Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan competitions to become an actual professional racecar driver.
From a PlayStation.Blog post:
Neill Blomkamp: So, it’s actually a dystopian science fiction script I sold to Sony that started the conversation. As the pre-production process went on I started to get very eager just to work on something, and at that point they said, “How about Gran Turismo?” My first thought was, “Wait, how do you make a film out of a racing simulator?” But I read the screenplay, and I personally own three [Nissan] R35 GTRs—I have a personal obsession with Nissan and the whole Nismo lineage—so I was immediately intrigued as a car lover.
I’ve also been very close to video games in a lot of ways throughout my career, and I had never come across something like Gran Turismo where the movie itself treats the game as a game. It’s based on a true story about Jann Mardenborough who learned to drive playing the game before driving professionally in real life, competing against other real drivers. It’s just an amazing story.
Another reason I signed on was because my stuff tends to be a lot darker and more dystopian, as you mentioned, but this movie felt, well, very inspirational. It had never crossed my mind that I would direct a movie where the audience would leave the theater feeling uplifted and inspired. This was really appealing to me.