Michael Fassbender has gotten behind the wheel to narrate the racing film 1. The Formula One documentary is produced by Exclusive Media’s Spitfire Pictures. “We are honored that Michael has agreed to lend his voice to our film. He is one of the most talented actors in the world today as well as being a Formula One fan,” said Exclusive co-chair Nigel Sinclair and fellow producer Michael Shevloff today. Flat Out Films and Diamond Docs are also producing. Directed by Paul Crowder and written by Mark Monroe, 1 takes a very up close and on the track approach to the racing sport. It also features appearances by some Formula One champions like Sir Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill. Paul Crowder and Mark Monroe are repped by ICM Partners. Michael Fassbender is repped by CAA and Troika.
Fox’s deal announced today extends its current pact with NASCAR by eight years to 2022 and is worth $2.4 billion, the first fee increase for these racing rights in a decade. The network will pay about $300 million annually beginning in 2015 and keep its Daytona 500 , add TV Everywhere digital rights that had resided within the racing series previously, and air the first third of the Sprint Cup Series. The contract was worked out two years before the old one expired as part of an exclusive negotiating window. ESPN and Turner are next up for non-exclusive talks, which won’t begin until next summer. NASCAR’s current TV package is worth about $4.48 billion.
EXCLUSIVE: Rush, the Peter Morgan-scripted drama about the battle between ’70s Formula One racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, will rev up for action this week. The Ron Howard-directed film doesn’t really start principal photography until after Chris Hemsworth (he plays Hunt) completes Marvel’s The Avengers in a couple of months, but he and Inglourious Basterds‘ Daniel Bruhl (Lauda) will be around this weekend at Nurburgring Race Track in Germany. A race will be held there, featuring the Formula One classic cars that were driven during the 70s. Howard will be shooting 35mm all weekend with his cast.
This is more than just an opportunity for Howard to get generic footage on a race track; Nurburgring plays a pivotal part in the drama. That’s the track where Lauda, when he was reigning world champion and the only driver to ever complete a lap on that track in less than 7 minutes, tried to rally the other drivers to boycott the German Grand Prix race from being held there in 1976 because he felt safety arrangements weren’t up to snuff. When the other drivers voted against it, Lauda took the wheel and crashed his Ferrari on the second lap. Because it was so early in the race, Lauda’s car was full of fuel; his face was badly burned and he inhaled toxic hot gases that scorched his lungs before three rival drivers got out of their cars and pulled him from the wreckage. The film focuses on Lauda’s competitive spirit, which prompted him to get back behind the wheel despite being in severe pain six weeks later in Italy to stop Hunt from taking the world title.