Chris Hemsworth and Olivia Wilde drove into the Variety Studio on Saturday to discuss their Formula One pic “Rush,” which premieres Sunday night at the Toronto Film Festival.
“I likened it to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird,” Wilde said of Ron Howard’s new racing feature. “They were rivals who needed each other to achieve greatness.”
Based on the the true story of legendary Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt during the 1970s, “Rush” was a smooth operation from day 1, according to the actors, thanks to near flawless script from Peter Morgan.
“I was shooting ‘The Avengers’ at the time I read the script,” Hemsworth recalled. “And the idea of working with Ron (Howard) and a film that was written by Peter Morgan was a no-brainer.”
Morgan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “The Queen,” began writing the story of Lauda, a friend of his wife’s, on spec some years ago, intrigued by the driver’s courageous story.
“The dialogue was so sharp,” Wilde boasted of Morgan’s script. “I don’t think people expect from a film about sports, about athletes competing, that you’re going to have such sharp dialogue.”
“(Plus) it was nice to be on a movie which wasn’t being written while we were shooting–there’s a lot movies like that where at lunch they’re like ‘change the ending!’” she laughed.
The only real change, Wilde said, was that Russell Crowe was originally supposed to play billionaire Richard Burton in the film but that scene was eventually cut from the final draft.
“It was such a team effort,” Hemsworth said of independently financed film, applauding Howard for creating an environment where the actors felt free enough to make “the magic” happen, while also championing cinematographer Dod Mantle (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who next reunite with Hemsworth, Howard and Morgan again on their next project “Into the Heart of the Sea” for Warner Bros.
“We’re getting the whole team back together,” he said with a grin.
“Rush,” produced by Working Title Films and Imagine Entertainment, opens nationwide Sept. 27.