It's official: a Gran Turismo movie is finally happening.
After the Uncharted movie was a massive box office success despite mixed reviews, it's not surprising that Sony Pictures and PlayStation productions are adapting more popular PlayStation game franchises into big-budget movies and TV shows.
As racing game fanatics, we’re delighted to say that one of these projects will be based on Gran Turismo.
Gran Turismo movie
For the first time in its 25-year history, Gran Turismo is making the jump to the big screen.
In truth, however, Sony has been trying to get the Gran Turismo movie off the ground for almost a decade.
Back in 2013, The Wrap reported that The Social Network and Fifty Shades of Grey producers Mike de Luca and Dana Brunetti were bringing Gran Turismo to the big screen.
Tron Legacy and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinksi was also in talks to direct the Gran Turismo movie adaptation, while Red writers Jon and Erich Hoeber were reportedly writing the screenplay.
With no updates for several years, it looked as if the Gran Turismo movie had stalled on the starting line. But now it’s finally happening.
Since the Gran Turismo movie got the green light this year, new details have emerged from the first casting announcements to the theatrical release date. Without further ado, here’s everything we know so far about the Gran Turismo movie.
When you think of a video game that can be adapted into movie, you probably don’t think of Gran Turismo. After all, the Gran Turismo games are not renowned for having memorable characters and compelling plots. Players create their own narratives, buying their first used car with a small number of credits and working their way up to the top.
However, the Gran Turismo movie is inspired by an incredible true story that sounds like it was written for a Hollywood movie.
Gran Turismo's story is described as “the ultimate wish fulfilment tale of a teenage Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan competitions to become an actual professional race car driver.”
It will be inspired by the real-life GT Academy, an esports competition run by Polyphony Digital and Nissan where the best Gran Turismo players in the world competed for a chance to become a real-life racing driver for Nissan.
It’s believed the Gran Turismo movie will retell the story of Jann Mardenborough's inspiring rise from Gran Turismo gamer to professional race driver. After winning the 2011 GT Academy, the British driver went on to finish second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class in 2013 and race in the Japanese Super GT.
Playing the lead role of the teenage Gran Turismo gamer who becomes a professional racing driver is Archie Madekwe. Before landing a lead role in Gran Turismo, the young British actor appeared in Midsommar, Voyagers, and the Apple+ drama See.
Several big-name actors have also signed onto the project. The first confirmed cast member for the Gran Turismo movie is David Harbour, best known for playing police chief Jim Hopper in Stranger Things. Harbour will play a retired racing driver who teaches Madekwe how to drive on the track.
Starring alongside Harbour will be Orlando Bloom, best known for his starring roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings films. In the Gran Turismo movie, Bloom will play “a hungry marketing exec who is selling the sport of motor racing … and just may believe in its art, too."
No racing movie would be complete without a rivalry, whether it’s Niki Lauda vs. James Hunt in Rush or Ford vs. Ferrari in Le Mans 66. Best known for starring in the Netflix romantic comedy series Never Have I Ever, American actor Darren Barnet will play the antagonist.
His character is described as a “racer who is ranked at the top at the GT Academy and who is not thrilled to see the upstart teen excel” according to Hollywood Reporter.
Behind the camera will be Neill Blomkamp, best known for directing science fiction flicks such as District 9, Chappie, and Elysium.
He may not be an obvious choice to direct a car racing film, but Blomkamp said in an interview with Motor Trend that he has always dreamed of directing car scenes in movies. Plots in movies like Chappie have never allowed this, but his dream will finally be fulfilled with the Gran Turismo movie.
Having owned a 1987 Golf GTI, BMW M3, 2010 Corvette ZR1, Subaru WRX, and three Nissan GT-Rs, he's also an avid car enthusiast.
Speaking on Twitter, Blomkamp says directing the Gran Turismo movie will allow him to "combine my love of cars with love of film." With his love of cars combined with a compelling human-centered story , we're confident the Gran Turismo movie is in good hands.
Jason Hall (American Sniper) and Zach Baylin (King Richard) are handling the screenplay. Hall will also serve as Executive Producer alongside Gran Turismo series producer Kazunori Yamauchi.
Of course, a movie adaptation based on a racing game franchise is going to feature some drool-worthy on-screen cars. However, with no trailers or production stills availalbe yet, it’s not known which cars will appear in the Gran Turismo movie.
In the real-life GT Academy, drivers trained in karts and Caterhams as well as and Nissan 370Z and GT-Rs to prepare them for track racing. 2011 GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough went on to race a Nissan 370Z GT4 in the Dubai International 24 Hours. Since it’s inspired by the GT Academy, we expect these cars will appear in the Gran Turismo movie.
We could also see replicas of LMP2 and Super GT cars get put through their paces in the film’s racing scenes if the Gran Turismo movie charts Mardenborough's racing career.
Unfortunately, there's no Gran Turismo movie trailer yet. In fact, the only official piece of media is the movie logo posted on the official Gran Turismo movie Twitter account at the time of writing.
Shooting for the Gran Turismo movie is set to begin the week of 19 September in Hungary, so we may see a trailer towards the end of 2022 or early 2023.
As for the release date, the Gran Turismo movie races into theatres on 11 August 2023.
Being based on one of the most popular racing game franchises of all time, Sony Pictures could have another huge box office hit on their hands. We can’t wait to see how it translates to the big screen.