While the dominance of anthology films in the world of superheroes remains unchallenged, Hollywood is finding a way to make money from another staple of popular culture: video games.
There’s another $1.36 billion earned by “The Super Mario Bros.” And now comes “Gran Turismo” (in theaters now), a live-action movie Exploiting the popularity of the Sony PlayStation car racing simulator.
While the former was purely cartoonish fiction, “Gran Turismo” is backed by a true story. But as with most films, liberties were taken.
Here’s a breakdown of fact and fiction with the help of “Gran Turismo” star Archie Madekwe and the man who plays him, famous video game player turned professional race car driver Jan Mardenborough.
Did Nissan and Sony really sponsor a contest to see if a skilled video gamer could race a sports car?
In 2008, Nissan Europe marketing executive Darren Cox (a character based on him named Danny Moore played by Orlando Bloom) launched the Nissan GT Academy with Sony. The idea was to capitalize on the growing popularity of the racing simulator, whose teenage players would soon become the next generation of car buyers.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, let me try this,'” says Mardenborough, 31. “I dropped out of college because it didn’t involve racing car driving and I was working in a department store, which was soul-sucking.” . So this happened at the right place at the right time.
Did Jan Mardenborough win his first Nissan GT Challenge?
British-born Mardenborough has already won the GT Academy’s third edition in 2011, becoming its youngest champion at just 19 years old. The winner of the inaugural Nissan GT Challenge was Spaniard Lucas Ordoñez, who raced successfully for a number of years.
Mardenborough says the biggest shock to winning was adjusting to the violent world of racing. “I had the experience of youth, I didn’t understand politics, and I didn’t know anything about self-preservation,” he says. “But leaving the house to do something that brought me joy was easy.”
Did Jan Mardenborough really come third at Le Mans?
In 2013, Mardenborough and two other Nissan racers finished third in the LMP2 class in the famous 24 Hours race in France, which marks a high point in the “Gran Turismo” theme.
The real team is made up of Mardenboro. Inaugural Gran Turismo Winner Ordoñez; In addition to a veteran who did not come from the world of video games, Michael Crum.
But to make the film more dramatic, the writers made the three Le Mans winners consist of Mardenborough and two fictional runners-up.
Victory still looms. “To this day, it’s the only (Le Mans) prize in my room,” says Mardenborough, who today races largely in Japan. “But it’s for third place. I feel like there’s still unfinished business there. I still would love to win it.”
Did Jan Mardenborough Almost Die in a Plane Crash in Germany?
In 2015, a Nissan GT3 sports car driven by Mardenborough took to the air and left the notoriously difficult and deadly Nürburgring in Germany. One of the spectators died and the driver was taken to hospital.
“Because everything was real, and someone died, we made sure that the film was very true to life in every detail,” says Mardenborough. “It was a huge turning point in my career, where everything could have been over, but it didn’t.”
Did Archie Madekwe drive the stunt car himself in ‘Gran Turismo’?
Mardenborough was called in to do the racing scenes for the film, which he says “opened up the way of filmmaking for me, which was exciting”.
Madikwe had recently obtained his driver’s license and had taken a crash course in driving on the track with a professional. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and honestly, I often vomited in the middle of shooting some of those scenes, the g-forces were just too much for my body,” says the 28-year-old actor. “But doing it made me appreciate what drivers do. One mistake and things can really go wrong. There’s no reset button.”
Was Jean Mardenborough’s father really a footballer?
He is the son of British footballer Steve Mardenborough, who played for a range of clubs. Gran Turismo distills the often tense relationship between Jean and his father (played by Djimon Hounsou) in some of its strongest scenes.
Mardenborough says the tension was not simulated. When he announced to his father and his football-obsessed brother that he was applying to GT Academy, “My father laughed, and they both kept watching. My mother thought it was great.
Why does the actress who plays Jean’s mother look familiar?
Leslie Mardenborough plays Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, who will be recognized by fans of Netflix’s Formula 1 racing docuseries ‘Drive to Survive’.
Halliwell has a real connection to motorsports. She is married to Christian Horner, one of the stars of the series and manager of the currently dominant Formula One team Red Bull. He and Halliwell appear frequently in the series, both on the track and at their home in rural England.
What cars do Jan Mardenborough and Archie Madekwe drive in real life?
Mardenborough treasures his dream car of the 1990s that he was finally able to afford, a blue 1995 Ferrari 456 GT with cream leather. It’s a two-door car, but it’s rare for Ferrari to have two rear seats. “I like to joke that one day when I have a wife and a family, I’ll be able to say to them, ‘Look, it works for all of us,’ he says. There’s no need to sell it.”
Madikwe is still shopping for his first car. While he loves the Nissan GT-R, the pivotal “Gran Turismo” scene finds him and crew chief Jack Salter (a vehicular character played by David Harbor) returning to the Nurburgring in an exotic Porsche 911 GT3 RS. “When I got into that car, I thought, ‘Okay, wow, now I get it,'” Madikwe says. “That car made me a fan of cars.”
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