‘Everything is real’: Why ‘Gran Turismo’ video game movie is ‘not all digital’

August 4, 2023 - 7:24 PM
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Film maker Neill Blomkamp is set to release a video game movie this month.

The video game live-action film is based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough, a gamer-turned-racecar driver who gained the opportunity to compete against professional drivers on the track.

Blomkamp, on the other hand, is a South African-Canadian director well known for sci-fi action movies like “District 9”, “Chappie”, and “Elysium”.

Dream come true

Blomkamp explained that he chose Mardenborough’s story for the movie because of how unbelievable the series of events unfolded in his story.

“Jann is playing ‘Gran Turismo’ in his parents’ house when all of a sudden – after years – he sees the option for GT Academy. Only then did he learn how to drive proper cars – how to hit an apex and exit a corner – everything he’d done intuitively inside the game, but had never been taught, Blomkamp explained.

Mardenborough is played by Archie Madekwe, known for starring in the 2019 horror/thriller, “Midsommar.”

‘Everything is real’

Blomkamp was very committed to making the film using real cars and filming the racing sequences on real-world racing tracks.

“With a movie like this one, sometimes the temptation is to go all-digital. Shoot some background plates, do digital cars, drop your actors in from a virtual production environment. But in this case, everything is real, and I mean literally everything is real,” the director said.

“When we portray an actor driving the car, they are actually going around the track pretty close to the speed that they should be going,” he added.

Blomkamp’s previous movies such as “District 9” and “Chappie” are known for the heavy usage of computer-generated imagery.

‘Very interesting meta’

He also added that Mardenborough himself is the stunt driver for his character in the film, which the filmmaker described as a “very interesting meta thing.”

“The story is based on him, Archie Madekwe portrays him, and he’s the stunt driver who drives Archie’s car as the character based on him. It’s amazing – some very interesting meta thing happening there,” he said.

Mardenborough felt nostalgic upon filming the movie that is about his story in racing history.

“It’s so surreal. The last time I was in Hungary, the track was packed with trucks for a race. This time, it was packed with trucks for a film being made about me. That blew my mind,” the iconic driver said.

“Gran Turismo” will be distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International, in the Philippines starting this August.