As has been noted by most observers, “Rush” doesn't religiously follow the true timeline of Hunt and Lauda's stories, and there are fictional twists to the story. Having completed a string of projects based on real characters, Howard understands that there's a fine line between literal accuracy and making a film that works. The important thing is that the story resonates with movie-goers.
“I found that there are different reasons to use a true story as a jumping off place. You have to understand that in ‘A Beautiful Mind,' the broad strokes were remarkable, and it gave it balance and significance to recognize that this had really happened. You get enough of those details right so that you can own that. But the purpose of it was actually to offer insight into mental illness, and to cinematically trick the audience into understanding what it might feel like to be going through that disease, and coping with it. It wasn't to re-enact John Nash's life.
“‘Frost/Nixon' was a kind of a snapshot, but it was as much to define that moment and this clash between these two men, and the anatomy of an unlikely takedown than it was to do a beat for beat of the interviews.
“‘Apollo 13,' ‘Cinderella Man' and ‘Rush' are much more committed to trying to pack in as many facts as possible, because those stories are ‘fact is stranger than fiction,' that's what they really are. It's astonishing what happened. The only frustration is the stuff that you have to leave out and the stuff you have to condense.”
It's going to be all too easy to define “Rush” as a sports movie or even more rigidly as a racing movie, but Howard hopes that its appeal stretches far beyond those narrow boundaries.
“I don't have a hell of a lot of perspective but I think there's more to it than that, and people are telling us there is, so I hope that become the consensus. But by the same token, ‘Cinderella Man' is a movie that's beginning to climb up the ranks when people list boxing movies; suddenly it's now showing up in the top five, so I get a sense of gratification from that. If people feel that ‘Rush' is a good example of what racing can mean on screen, that would be a great start – I'll be proud of that.”
• The September issue of RACER magazine, on sale now, focuses on racing in the movies, past and present, including a behind-scenes looks at the making of "Rush," "Grand Prix," "Le Mans" and more. To subscribe now, click here, or to learn where to buy RACER in your area, click here. You can also purchase single copies directly at RacerMerch.com.