First of all, I’d like to make a brief conflict of interest statement. Until I was 5, I was brought up in Vienna so I come pre-programmed to like Niki Lauda. My grandmother was very clear on that matter. Mr. Lauda isn’t my most favourite ever, that would be Gerhard Berger, but I am very fond of him. Also, Lauda Air remain one of the few airlines to ever run a direct flight to Vienna from Manchester and served the best in-flight meal I ever had.
In short, I ❤ Niki Lauda
So, many years ago, I start to hear rumours that a Hollywood director is thinking of making an F1 film. And I’m not sure why they’d bother because we get really cool footage nowadays so there’s not much they can add in technical terms, and I didn’t think any given scriptwriter could come up with the same kind of emotional pull we get from real life.
Even when I heard Ron Howard was the director in question, I didn’t really change my mind. Ron Howard is a safe pair of hands and makes films that are lovely to look at but why bother?
The feeling of “why?” is increased when I find out that this film is going to be able the Hunt – Lauda rivalry. There’s already been several books and documentaries on the topic. While James Hunt is sadly no longer with us, one of the participants is still around and still willing to talk about it. What exactly is a fictionalised version of events going to add to what we already have?
I admit that part of my doubts are because it will be a Hollywood film where there is an Anglophone vs a German speaker and we all know how that usually goes down in Hollywood. Add to that the nature of their personalities and you get a situation where, even if they paint in shades of grey, one guy is going to get the darker shades of grey and it’s going to be the one I like.
I like Chris Hemsworth, don’t get me wrong, but Daniel Brühl is not my idea of Niki Lauda. And that’s before we get started on, what, you couldn’t find an Austrian actor for the role? (Yes, I know Hemsworth isn’t British either, but there are things I am more forgiving of. Please see the conflict of interest statement.)
So yes, I have doubts about this film.