Friday, July 18, 2014

Rush -- The script behind the film

For today’s post you need to know a little something about me.  I like cars.  Most cars are interesting to me.  European sports cars (except for Porsches) will distract me from pretty much everything.  My first car was a Triumph TR7 – and no, if you enter it as the answer to password challenge question it won’t get you in.  I’ve always wanted a Lotus.  Any Lotus, even a Europa.  This morning I saw a Mini Cooper with a “Bazinga” graphic and immediately felt the cold clutch of envy.

For me, the only motorsport worth watching (other than Rally) is Formula 1.  Always has been.  I’m not sure how old I was the first time I saw a F1 car making the circuit – maybe 4? – but I’ve been fascinated by it ever since.  I should quantify that.  If I’m anywhere that has a F1 race on I want to watch it, but the last season I actively followed was 1994 when Senna died.  The period that really captured my imagination was the late sixties/early seventies when everything changed.  The era of Rindt and Moss.  Lotus, Ferrari, McLaren.  In my opinion 1970 was perhaps the greatest season ever.

Rush is the story of the 1976 Gran Prix season and the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt.  I’m biased.  It was very well written.  It captured the attitude of the drivers, the circus that supports them, and the life v death tension of racing at that level.  It’s an adult script, filled with substance abuse, references to promiscuous sexual activity, and gore which earn the film its ‘R’ rating, but the prose is more like reporting than describing.  D.H. Lawrence was far more descriptive in the novel I read for high school English.  And it isn’t all bad either, whilst Hunt is the carefree playboy party animal, Lauda is a the meticulous businessman, introverted and monogamous, who is successful because of his incredible self-control.   Hunt is often criticized for his lifestyle and attitude and actually admits to a bit of self-loathing.

Rush is a work of historical fiction.  I don’t know either Hunt or Lauda but their representation is an accurate reflection of how they were portrayed in the press.  The on and off track sequences are tied together seamlessly and if you don’t believe that a written description of an auto race can get your adrenaline flowing, you should read this script.  Or the book Gran Prix Year.

The script did well at distilling the essence of the rivalry between these two great drivers and turning it into a compelling story, complete with sub plots, action, love stories, and character arcs.  Dramatizing actual events is an incredibly difficult task but Rush makes it look easy.  Interestingly, I found this story to be far more compelling and suspenseful than the fictitious Driven – even knowing how it all turned out.  The true story is so good that heavy handed creative license wasn’t required.

As I said, I’m biased, but…

“When I saw it the first time I was impressed. There was no Hollywood changes or things changed a little bit Hollywood-like. It is very accurate. And this really surprised me very positively.” -Niki Lauda (Carjam TV Interview, September, 2013)

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