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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2011, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Formula One Movies

Sundance 2011: Tears and thrills from the Formula One track in 'Senna' - latimes.com

Tears and thrills from the Formula One track in 'Senna'

Senna
Sometimes a documentary will unexpectedly reach out and grab you by the throat, not giving you a second to breathe. That's that way it was with "Senna," which had its North American premiere Friday night in Sundance's world documentary competition.

Fans of Formula One racing will know at once that this is a film about the legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna, considered by some to be the greatest driver who ever lived. A boy genius behind the wheel, capable of pushing cars beyond their capacity, Senna won 33 races and three Grand Prix titles before dying in a crash in 1994 at age 34.

Told solely through the use of archival footage, "Senna" is bursting with great racing sequences, many dealing with his bitter rivalry with French champion Alain Prost. But what makes this film so riveting is the remarkable personality of the man himself.

Someone who just flat-out loved to drive, Senna was a purist who had complete disdain for the politics that had to be played in the cliquish Formula One world. Though he drove like the devil, he was a spiritual person who believed deeply and profoundly in a higher power. A philosophical mystic with a jewel thief's nerves and a poet's sensitivity (and good looks), Senna was an altogether remarkable human being.

"Senna" is fortunate in having Asif Kapadia, best known for his award-winning dramatic debut, "The Warrior," in charge. A British director with a keen sense of drama and a gift for narrative drive, Kapadia also had, said screenwriter and executive producer Manish Pandey, the kind of impeccable eye needed to cull 104 minutes of film from 15,000 hours of archival footage.

Though everything about "Senna" took forever -- years to get the cooperation of both the Senna family and the Formula One hierarchy, further years to do the archival research and then to edit -- the result has been extraordinarily satisfying to the team that spearheaded the work.

Pandey talked about showing the film to Ron Dennis, the head of the McLaren racing team, a man known for being unemotional and so conscious of not wasting a minute of time that he has a car and driver waiting for him everywhere he goes.

"After the film ended, Ron Dennis cried for 10 minutes," Pandey said. "Then he sat and talked about Senna for two hours." Such is the power of this man, and this film.

-- Kenneth Turan

Photo: Ayrton Senna in the driver's seat in a scene from "Senna." Credit: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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"Rush" Hunt - Lauda Rivaly Movie

A Formula One movie steps on the accelerator -- but with Ron Howard instead of Paul Greengrass - latimes.com

A Formula One movie steps on the accelerator -- but with Ron Howard instead of Paul Greengrass

June 21, 2011 | 3:44 pm

Lauda
EXCLUSIVE: Formula One racing is one of the most popular sports around the world. Can it also be the stuff of blockbuster filmmaking in the United States?

A movie called "Rush" will test that question. A development project currently making the rounds of Hollywood studios, "Rush" tells of the 1970s F1 rivalry between the late playboy British driver James Hunt and his nemesis, Austrian champion Niki Lauda.

Packaged just a few weeks ago as a Paul Greengrass film, the director has opted to move on to other projects, say two sources familiar with the pitch who asked not to be identified because they weren't authorized to speak on the director's behalf. Instead, one of the sources said, the movie is being shopped with veteran director Ron Howard ("A Beautiful Mind," "The Da Vinci Code") as the filmmaker.

The movie reunites Howard, who directed another '70s-set true-life piece, "Frost/Nixon," with his screenwriter on that film, Peter Morgan, who has written the "Rush" script. It aims to shoot this year in Europe and could command a budget as high as $50 million.

Lauda and Hunt would make compelling movie subjects. Archrivals who dominated their sport in the 1970s, their most storied square-off came in 1976, when Ferrari's Lauda went out in middle of the season after suffering a serious injury. That allowed McLaren's Hunt, who had lagged behind Lauda, to make up ground and eventually eke out a season win.

Adding to the rivalry: the pair were opposites both on and off the track. Hunt was known for dining with his dog at high-end London restaurants and for a general club and party lifestyle. Lauda led a more hard-luck life, contemplating suicide at one early point in his career and suffering the 1976 accident that burned a considerable portion of his face. His post-race career has nonetheless been fruitful: He's founded two airlines and for a time managed a Formula 1 team. (Hunt, who after retirement did racing commentary for the BBC, died in 1993.)
"Rush" comes with a sizable Hollywood pedigree: It's being partly financed by Cross Creek Pictures, the company that put up some of the money behind "Black Swan." And it's being developed with two producing heavyweights, Working Title Films and Howard's Imagine Entertainment, the forces behind movies such as "Atonement" and "The Da Vinci Code," respectively. That suggests big production values and, potentially, big stars. An Imagine spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

"Rush" is not the only recent attempt by Hollywood to make a Formula One movie set in that period: Steven Spielberg has been developing a biopic about Hunt. Still, there remain questions for a big-budget project -- re-creating auto races doesn't come cheap -- that centers on a sport that has never captivated American audiences. A huge following around the world, though, will of course help the movie internationally.

Lurking in the background is "Senna," the documentary about the early 1990s F1 rivalry between Brazilian iconoclast Ayrton Senna and his archrival Alain Prost. The film portrays the free-spirited Senna and his clashes with F1 governing officials, as well as with Prost, a French driver who was largely the favorite of the establishment. Morgan has recently seen "Senna," said a person familiar with one of the film's screenings.

"Senna," which earned rave reviews out of the Sundance Film Festival, has already grossed nearly $4 million in Britain for Working Title, suggesting there is a big international market for Formula One movies. The doc comes out stateside on Aug. 12 (and is playing Tuesday night at 10:10 p.m. at the L.A. Film Festival downtown), and the reaction to it here could indicate the strength of the market in the U.S., where car racing is hugely popular but usually takes the form of NASC
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-23-2011, 07:42 AM
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I cannot wait to see Senna. And I hope "Rush" doesn't turn into another "Driven."
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-23-2011, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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As a kid I watched Roman Polanski's 'Weekend of a Champion.'
His film about Jackie Stewart and shot mostly at the Monaco GP track in 1971.
I was hooked.

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