It’s no secret that movies based on video games get a bad rap. Although there are some big screen hits like Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, and most recently Super Mario Bros. So successful, it’s not surprising that there is some hesitation about the upcoming Gran Turismo film adaptation.
“When I received the script, I thought, ‘How do you make a movie about Gran Turismo?’
What ultimately convinced him about the film, Blomkamp said, was that it told a true story. After all, Gran Turismo is not a direct adaptation of the video game, but rather the true story of Gran Turismo player Jan Mardenborough and his journey through the GT Academy that made him and other students into real race car drivers.
Blomkamp added: “Jan’s story is incredible as he went from playing Gran Turismo at his parents’ house on a console, a drive system console he built, to finishing third at Le Mans. It was a very natural combination of the backbone of a video game. With realistic, authentic locations and characters is what worked naturally.”
When I received the script, I wondered how to make a movie about Gran Turismo?
Star David Harbour’s position was similar, too. Despite his love of video games and even PlayStation games in particular, he told IGN that he had never played or was interested in Gran Turismo.
Add to that the aforementioned notoriety of video game movies (although it should be noted that this interview was conducted before Super Mario Bros. hit the box office). But like Blomkamp, it was the film’s approach that convinced him.
He said, “I’m really happy with the approach they’ve taken on this, because I think we all know, unfortunately… I mean it’s become a repetitive thing… that video game movies don’t work. There are a lot of movies that fail. Part of that is why “What we love about video games is that we are the player who plays them… We are in control of what happens. We don’t want a director and a team of people controlling our point of view, telling us what the story is about. We want to write that story ourselves.”
He added, “It’s cool because … the video game is part of the movie, I mean it’s about a guy who plays video games a lot, and then takes that video game experience and puts it on the right track. To me it’s a great sports movie.”
He even likens it to the 1986 Gene Hackman movie Hoosiers about an underdog basketball team that succeeds against all odds.
“This is the same story about the kid who plays video games and no one believes in him, no one believes he can do this, everyone is against him. And he overcomes these incredible odds and does something really amazing.”
Gran Turismo hits theaters on August 23, 2023. Watch the full interviews with Blomkamp, Harbor, and the film’s co-stars Archie Madeco and Orlando Bloom below.