The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

'Rush' a cinematic thrill ride where strong characters drive the story

  • Print

TORONTO - A slew of low-slung cars may be speeding through the entire film, but it's the characters that really drive the story in "Rush."

Those behind the adrenaline-pumping flick which takes viewers into the world of Formula One racing during the glamorous '70s were determined to make more than a sports movie, aiming for a cinematic thrill ride that would appeal to a wide audience.

"Rarely do you get a film which ticks this many boxes. There's a popcorn entertainment element to it, yes, but it is surprising, exciting and there are real characters at the centre of it," Chris Hemsworth, who stars as charismatic British racer James Hunt, said during a visit to Toronto where the film was being screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The film, which is based on a true story, follows the intense rivalry between the over-the-top Hunt and Austrian racer Niki Lauda, his caustic polar opposite who is, despite his idiosyncrasies, a formidable force behind the wheel.

Rather than focus merely on the nail-biting races which made them stars, Hemsworth says the film's thorough development of the pair's personalities makes "Rush" a movie that people can relate to.

"The biggest thing is the honesty that they lived with, in different ways," said the strapping Australian actor who is perhaps best known for his leading role in the "Thor" films.

"We all wish we could be more truthful. We avoid conflict at certain times and we say what's politically correct instead of what we actually think. You watch these two spar off and there's no filter. I think there's something kind of refreshing about that."

Daniel Bruhl, who plays a convincing Lauda, said the lack of a defined hero and obvious villain make "Rush" all the more gripping.

"It's an interesting journey and it's a drama. It deals with two fascinating and very different characters, but it's not just an action race movie," said the "Inglourious Basterds" star, who took pains to perfect an Austrian accent for the film.

"I think it's great to not have conventional storytelling, to not have the one and only hero and the villain but two guys that you have empathy with."

Portraying Lauda was particularly intimidating for Bruhl because he had to deal with the real-life icon scrutinizing his work.

"It freaks you out a little bit, I must say, because he is a living legend," said the German actor, who worked to earn Lauda's respect and ended up consulting with him throughout the making of the movie.

"If that person is willing to support you and likes the project and supports it, then it makes life much easier. Then you actually have an advantage playing a real character because there's no better source than the living person."

"Rush" is directed by Ron Howard — the man behind titles like "Apollo 13" and "A Beautiful Mind" — who admitted he knew little about Formula One before making the film, but used his position as a racing rookie to his advantage.

"I knew the sport was a cinematic opportunity," he said. "I love drama, I love working with actors on challenging, interesting characters, and I felt that combining that with something as visceral and cinematic as Formula One was sort of a gift."

The film, which was scripted by Peter Morgan, features Olivia Wilde as Hunt's sultry love interest and Alexandra Maria Lara as Lauda's demure but beguiling partner.

Much like a race where anything can happen, Howard said "Rush" unfolds in unexpected ways — a quality he hopes viewers will appreciate.

"I think a lot of those twists and turns are exactly what people like because it's not going down the path the way they expected it might. And yet it's logical because it happened," he said.

"The guiding principle always was to keep telling the story and keep the movie psychological, so it was always heart and mind of the driver."

"Rush" opens in cinemas on Friday.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trouba talks about injury and potential for Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the number of homicides so far this year?

View Results

Ads by Google