The incredible true story behind the movie Gran Turismo

David Harbour, Archie Madekwe and Orlando Bloom in Gran Turismo.  (Sony images)

David Harbour, Archie Madekwe and Orlando Bloom in Gran Turismo. (Sony images)

Video game movies are seeing a resurgence in pop culture, but the film Gran Turismo will prove to be very different from its predecessors due to the true story behind it.

The PlayStation race car simulator was an inspiration for gamer Jann Mardenborough as a teenager, so much so that, in 2011, he won a place at Nissan’s PlayStation GT Academy and used his experience with the game franchise to become a professional race car driver in his own right.

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The story of Mardenborough is brought to life on the big screen by Neill Blomkamp, ​​with Stranger Things star David Harbor and Lord of the Rings alum Orlando Bloom starring in the upcoming film alongside newcomer Archie Madekwe, who plays Mardenborough.

Who is Jann Mardenborough?

LONGFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Jann Mardenborough of Great Britain, driver of the #21 Carlin Motorsport Dallara F312 Volkswagen during the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series race at Brands Hatch Circuit on August 11, 2013 near Longfield, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

Jann Mardenborough during the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series race in 2013. (Getty Images)

Mardenborough was an avid gamer who took his skills as a Gran Turismo player and transferred them to the track when he was given the chance to join GT Academy. A bold move quickly became a genius decision as he proved to be as adept at driving as he was with a PS3 controller.

During his time at the GT Academy, Mardenborough took part in the Dubai 24 Hours for Nissan and finished third in his class, despite never having had professional racing experience before.

In an interview with VICE in 2013, Mardenborough reflected on his unusual start in the sport and said he decided to put all his energy into GT Academy because he had nothing else to do after dropping out of his motorsports degree. at Swansea University. engineering.

Watch the trailer for Gran Turismo

“I woke up one morning and decided to give it a try,” he told the publication. “I had already heard about the competition and as a child I always wanted to be a driver, but saying it and doing it are completely different things. At that moment in my life I had nothing else to do: all my friends had left to travel or study, while I was still at home. So I gave all my attention to GT Academy.

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“Before this point I had never been on a track, never driven a sports car or drifted. My entire experience has been on Gran Turismo! But in the end I won the competition and from there my life changed completely”.

Jann Mardenborough’s racing career so far

SEBRING, FL - MARCH 15: The Nissan ORECA No.  No. 6 of Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Jann Mardenborough is shown in action during the 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway on March 15, 2014 in Sebring, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)

Jann Mardenborough in action during the 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway on March 15, 2014. (Brian Cleary/Getty Images)

Mardenborough’s raw talent saw him develop into one of the most promising young drivers in the business and took his motorsport career to the next level. He became a driver for Nissan and started competing in the Pro-Am class in 2012, although he was barred from competing in the British GT Championship for being too fast.

In 2013, Mardenborough competed at Les Mans in the LMP2 class, finishing third in the field at the end of the 24 hour race. In 2014 the driver moved up to the GP3 championships where he competed for two years before moving up again to the Super GT championship in Japan in 2016, where he drove for Nissan. At the event he scored a win in the GT300 class, and finished second in the All-Japan Formula 3 championship.

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Mardenborough moved up to the GT500 class in 2017 and raced for Nissan’s Calsonic Impul team in the Super GT championship until 2019, at which time he joined the Kondo racing team and competed alongside Mitsunori Takaboshi until 2020.

Will Jann Mardenborough appear in the film Gran Turismo?

Gran Turismo Director Neill Blomkamp speaks during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 4, 2023. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Neill Blomkamp, ​​director of Gran Turismo in 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)

It’s often the case that those associated with a video game have been given a cameo in the adaptation of the original, such as Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson’s appearances in The Last of Us, or Nolan North’s blink. he appeared in the movie Uncharted with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg.

Mardenborough will be involved in the film Gran Turismo and will actually play a much more vital role in the drama than viewers might expect because it will help with the racing scenes themselves.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, Blomkamp revealed that Mardenborough swaps places with Madekwe, his onscreen counterpart, for stunt driving, a cameo that seemed fitting for the race car driver.

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The director explained the reason behind this by saying, “As you go through the process of finding a stunt double, you need to find people who feel like you’re getting a glimpse of them, who look like the actor, but who are also physically similar and who there are many things that need to happen.

“But with a racing film, the pool of stunt doubles you can choose from who are top-level racers is very small. At the same time we were doing it, Jann was asking if she could, almost for the love of cameos, if he could drive one of the races.

“And what ended up happening was amazing, which is that he’s Jann Mardenborough’s stunt double for all the guides for the entire film. So whenever you see the car moving, there’s an outside shot where you can see the whole car, [the] the real Jann is driving it. And then as soon as you walk in, it’s Archie.

Gran Turismo hits theaters on Friday 11th August.

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