We caught up with acclaimed filmmaker Ron Howard late last Monday night, the last day of shooting on Canon's Project Imagin8ion short When You Find Me. He is producing alongside his daughter Bryce Dallas Howard, the director of the film. During a lengthy discussion about this unique supernatural drama, which required Bryce and her writing partner Dane Charbeneau to create an original story from 8 winning photographs sent in from people across the globe, Ron let us know that he wasn't able to direct When You Find Me himself, as originally intended, because he was knee deep in pre-production on the Formula 1 racing biopic Rush.
The story follows champion racer Niki Lauda, who, mere weeks after surviving a 1976 crash that nearly claimed his life, got back behind the wheel to challenge his rival James Hunt. We asked Ron Howard if the movie might be a return to his Eat My Dust! roots with Roger Corman. That's when he revealed that this drama will actually be one of the most authentic Formula 1 movies ever produced for the big screen, and that it will incorporate real footage into authentic recreations of these period races.
Here is what Ron Howard had to say.
"It's based on a true story. We've already made some jokes. Because one of the guys I'm working with was also on Grand Theft Auto, which was one of the first things I ever directed. Every once in a while, we will fall into Roger Corman speak in front of everybody. This is an entirely international crew, other than Todd and myself. They don't know what the Hell we are talking about. We are throwing in terms like T-Bone and Speed Ramps. But this is going to be Formula 1 racing in the most authentic way we can present it. I think we are going to be able to use technology, including some of the work Canon does. Making a camera smaller, lighter, faster, easier to work with...I think we are going to get the cameras into really interesting, dynamic places to really give the audience a sense of what is going on in a race, at a really granular level."
The director went onto tell us how he will make the film as authentic as possible, mixing in documented footage with computer generated racing scenes.
"It will be really detailed. I am really excited about that. We will be using computer-generated imagery, so that we don't have to cheat so much. A lot of these tracks and grandstands aren't literally around anymore. Or they only partially exist. We will be able to extend to the full effect what it was like to be there. We will also be able to use archival footage. Repair it, manipulate it a little bit in ways that will be seamless. We will be mixing in footage from that time period with footage that we create in camera, to footage that we've enhanced digitally, to really recreate this world."
Ron Howard then explained what truly drew him to the project, which had nothing to do with the innovative special effects that he plans to utilize.
"As always is the case with me, I love cinema...I love all the filmmaking tricks that you can conceive of...But there is nothing more exciting to me than a really well acted scene. Peter Morgan wrote this script. He is the same guy that wrote The Queen, and The Last King of Scotland, and Frost/Nixon, which I directed...He zeroed in on this story not because of racing, but because of these two characters, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Both of them are very fascinating. That was a rich, interesting time. It was sexy, dangerous. And these individuals were remarkable. It's a strong character piece with really intense, cool action.