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‘Gran Turismo’ star David Harbor took a page from Gene Hackman’s ‘Hoosiers’ playbook


Gran Turismo: Based on a true story star David Harbor considers his new film to be a real movie The last star fighter.

In the 1984 Nick Castle movie, which Steven Spielberg and Seth Rogen both tried to recreate, Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is an aimless teenager who perfects an arcade game called Star Fighter and is eventually recruited by the game’s alien inventor to help fight in an interstellar war. Well, Neil Blomkamp’s Gran Turismo tells the true story of how Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe) mastered the technique Gran Turismo video game on the way to be recruited by Nissan and become a professional driver.

Harbour’s character, Jack Salter, a former race car driver turned mechanic, is the one tasked with actually turning Jann into a real race car driver, and the role has shades of Robert Duvall in Days of thunder (1990), John Candy Cool runs (1993) and Emilio Estevez The mighty ducks (1992). But as soon as Harbor read Jason Hall and Zach Baylin’s script, he saw it as an opportunity to channel one of his favorite Gene Hackman performances.

Gene Hackman and Hoosiers are part of the reason I made this movie,” says Harbor The Hollywood reporter prior to the July 13 SAG-AFTRA strike. “My agent sent me the Gran Turismo script and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I get to do a remake Hoosiers for a younger generation. ”

Harbor was supposed to be over his head this summer, but the ongoing double strike has ultimately slowed his simultaneous productions Stranger Things 5 And Lightning strikes. At the time of this talk on June 30, SAG-AFTRA had yet to be forced to strike, but Harbor was baffled by the lack of agreement on the threat of artificial intelligence.

“I’m just so depressed that we can’t fix these things. I don’t know what the endgame of this is,” says Harbor. “I’ve heard there are no guarantees that AI won’t replace you, and it seems so insane to me for people to walk into a room and say that to each other. The whole thing seems wild. So I really want to get back to work, but I also really want people to get paid.”

Below, during a conversation with THRHarbor also discusses how he misjudged the young actors Stranger things in a manner similar to his Gran Turismo the character’s relationship with Mardenborough.

Well, you know you’re in good shape when an unfinished movie is a lot of fun.

(laughs.) I assume you’ve seen the version with cameras hanging off the sides of cars and weird animated cars flipping over.

Precisely. So you’ve probably gotten this a lot already, but are you one Last Starfighter fan?

(laughs.) Yeah, but I actually didn’t get that as much as I thought. Yesterday there was only one comparison. It’s a great comparison of video game wish-fulfillment, but this is real life. So Gran Turismo is The last Star Fighter meet documentary.

They tried to make a remake The last star fighter for years, but the rights are famously complicated. So Grandma Turismo is probably the closest we’ll get in a long time.

That’s hilarious.

The compositions for Jack Salter range from Robert Duvall to Days of thunder to John Candy Cool To run. Are you the kind of actor who looks at similar roles just to figure out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do?

Yes, but only because I’m watching Hoosiers once every few years. Gene Hackman and Hoosiers are part of the reason why I made this movie. My agent sent me the Gran Turismo script and I read through it and thought, “Oh my God, I get to do a remake Hoosiers for a younger generation.” So that was exciting, and Hackman’s Norman Dale was really the most important North Star character to me. He’s certainly even more complicated (than Jack). There’s a lot more to it, and the story is basically about him, but it was a nice model in a way. Of course I do my own personal work and I want it to be specific to me, but you can use archetypal models and tropes along the way.

Archie Madekwe and David Harbor star in Columbia Pictures Gran Turismo.

Gordon Timpen

Jack doesn’t think much of Jann (Archie Madekwe) at first, but he eventually becomes a believer. Have you had such experiences with young actors, where you judge them prematurely until they finally surprise you with their abilities?

Absolute. (laughs.) I’m sure there is something to your question, but at first it was very funny to see the sprouts of Stranger Stuff children. That first season we had five. The spawn continues to grow, but they were all small saplings. So we’ve all made bets in different ways that play out in different ways, and I was wrong on every single one of them. So it’s satisfying sometimes and not satisfying the next time. But it was interesting to see how kids surprise me in this industry.

Did you know anything about the racing world before this experience?

Not really no.

Are you engrossed enough to follow it now?

Not really no. (laughs.) I loved doing it because it’s interesting on a technical level, but it feels like a violent place to me. I’m just not into cars in that area. I like old cars and other things, but cars represent a world that is not my world. Again, it’s very violent. The rubber on the tarmac, the gas, the speed, the twisted metal crashes, I’d rather play a video game. (laughs.)


David Harbor stars in Columbia Pictures Gran Turismo.

Gordon Timpen

Did they let you test drive one of the cars for fun?

Yes, we initially had to be driven around by a race car guy, and that was very unpleasant. Being a passenger in race cars is just awful, but then they let us drive around and that was good. I mean, I’ve gotten them pretty high up to 130 or 140 mph. Serious speeds happen on these straights, but they had paddle shifters. The safety cars were manual, so you had a clutch. And to me feels like manual transmission the driving. Paddle shifters don’t feel great.

Well, David, you were meant to have the busiest summer of your life filming Stranger Things 5 And Lightning strikes at the same time, but instead you’re talking to me now.


Do you make sure you are prepared for everything?

Not really. (laughs.) I’m just so depressed that we can’t fix these things. I don’t know what the end game of all this is. It seems so insane to me that there are bottlenecks, and of course I don’t know the nuance of this. But I’ve heard there’s no guarantees that AI won’t replace you, and it seems so insane to me for people to walk into a room and say that to each other. The whole thing seems wild. So I really want to get back to work, but I also really want people to get paid. I really want them to feel good about the way they work in this industry, and I really want us all to go back to work because it’s exhausting not working.

Of Lightning strikes And Stranger things both are postponed. Do you think it’s more likely that each project will be included separately now?

There will be a slight difference, but Stranger Things 5 will shoot for a year. So Lightning strikes must be living in there somewhere, but right now it’s all crazy speculation. I just don’t know what anything is anymore. I don’t know what we’re doing. I really wish someone in charge could tell me what’s going on because I get countless calls every week saying, “Oh, this is what’s going to happen.” And then it just doesn’t happen. So nobody knows.

In light of what’s happening with the writers, can you remember the first time a truly great piece came your way and did a lot of the heavy lifting for you?

I’ve been in plays all my life, and my first Broadway play was a Tom Stoppard play, so it’s hard to compare anything to the genius of it. But one of the first movies I made was Backlash Mountain, and that was a screenplay where I only had two very small scenes. Randall Malone was my character’s name, and he was a fully formed character. He was a very elaborate, three-dimensional man, who expressed himself very briefly. So there is nothing in this industry without great writers. It’s the baseline. I’ll read these articles where people say, “This actor said good writing is important,” and it’s like, “Of course.” Good writing is the backbone from which everything flourishes. There is nothing without it. It’s not like Brad Pitt and I are going to get in front of a camera and do something brilliant together. We need a script.

Gran Turismo: Based on a true story premieres in theaters on August 25. This interview, conducted prior to the July 13 SAG-AFTRA strike, has been edited for length and clarity.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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