American actor and film producer Brad Pitt and British race-car driver Lewis Hamilton dined together ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix – as the two men continue to plot their Formula 1 blockbuster.
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has revealed that the new Brad Pitt movie based around the championship will start shooting on race weekends in the second half of 2023.
On Friday Pitt, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and director Joseph Kosinski met with F1 team bosses in Austin to give them some idea of their plans, per Motor Sport.
The filmmakers stressed that they see their production as the racing equivalent of Bruckheimer’s hugely popular Top Gun: Maverick.
Domenicali said that all teams and drivers will be involved in the project, which will feature real cars and their sponsors.
The Italian sees the film as the next logical step in building on the global success of the Drive to Survive Netflix series.
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“I think it’s serious stuff,” he said. “I’m very excited because we are somewhere where people think, ‘What’s next?’
“And this is another step in the growth. We truly believe that it will enable F1 to be in another dimension that was not explored so deeply, and so well, until today.
“You will see a lot of things will happen next year on the preparation, and it’s exciting because all the teams will be involved, the drivers, everyone. So it’s fantastic.
“We are already planning all the activity and the activation that needs to be done in a real race weekend, we’re going to start in the second half of the season for the production.
“We are still working on the details, because it’s just the start of the plan, but you will see it will be quite interesting, I would say.”
Asked if the production will have its own cars running on track between official sessions, he said: “The only thing I can say is it will be real, so you will see something going on during the race weekends.”
Domenicali confirmed that teams and their current sponsors are eager to get involved.
When Bruckheimer made the NASCAR movie Days of Thunder over three decades ago, Mello Yello received huge coverage as the backer of Tom Cruise’s car.
“They will be there, the real ones, that will be involved in the movie,” said Domenicali. “And now there are discussions with the teams how to create the plan with the story, although of course, this is done by Hollywood.”
Domenicali confirmed that the close involvement of Lewis Hamilton as a producer will help to keep the production on track, while stressing that all other drivers will be invited to be part of the movie.
“Lewis will be very important because he loves this new project, and he will keep the right authenticity to the movie that will be produced.
“I guarantee to you that the producer is the best in Hollywood, the director is one of the best in Hollywood, and the main actor, Brad Pitt, doesn’t need to have any kind of introduction.”
Asked if the film will be a direct revenue stream for F1 or mainly a global PR tool for the sport he said: “Let me say it will be both. But for sure it’s very important in this moment to do certain things.
“Movies will be part of what we’re going to build for the future to attract a new audience, and also to invest in extra revenue that will come.”
Apple has bought the rights to the film with a reported budget of $140 million (£125m).
For Hamilton, who is being used as a consultant for the movie, he returned to more familiar surroundings of his Mercedes cockpit for practice at a track he has won on five occasions.
But the British driver is running out of time to ensure his record of winning at least one race in each season he has competed in remains intact. Just four rounds remain of a championship sewn up by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a fortnight ago in Japan.
Mercedes have brought more upgrades to America than any other team, with a new front and rear wing, as well as a revised floor to provide Hamilton with an expectation he has the machinery to challenge Verstappen and his all-conquering team. Red Bull has won the past seven races this season.
However, the seven-time world champion is aware there have been false dawns before.
“We are going to try everything, as we always do,” said Hamilton. “But I don’t want to get my hopes up.
“A lot of work has gone into the upgrade as it always does, and I’m really, really proud of everybody for the work that has gone in. But in the past, we have had expectations that it will bring a tenth of a second, and then we struggle to extract that, so I’m just keeping an open mind.”
Apple has bought the rights to the film with a reported budget of $140 million, according to News 24.
Tucked away inside a private room at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Restaurant in downtown Austin on Thursday night, Hamilton and Pitt, 58, were joined by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media – the American company which owns F1 – was in attendance, as were Hamilton’s father, Anthony and stepmother, Linda. Joseph Kosinski – the man behind Top Gun: Maverick, who will direct the F1 movie – also sat at the table.
Pitt then met with the grid’s other team principals at the Circuit of The Americas on Friday to brief them about the film F1 bosses hope will prove as successful as the popular Netflix Drive to Survive series.
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Sources: News 24, MotorSport
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