Universal's Rush Captures Ron Howard's Vision of Racing Rivalry

Drivers called it "The Green Hell." By the time James Hunt and Niki Lauer lined up in first and second positions on the Nürburgring, the mountainside race track had already claimed the lives of 131 racers. What happened next would transform both men into legends.

Rush drops viewers into the guts and glamour of the Formula One racing circuit of the 1970s. Director Ron Howard and a team of accomplished filmmakers recreate the sport’s most celebrated rivalry through the eyes of drivers who face death every time they chase victory.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor, 2011) embodies the sport’s reigning golden boy, James Hunt, an English rebel who refused to wear suits when meeting with team sponsors. Under pressure to convert his notoriety into a world championship, "Hunt the Shunt" fixed his sights on previous winner Niki Lauer. Daniel Brühl (Inglorious Basterds, 2009) portrays the Austrian racing superstar, known for his methodical analysis of each track’s weaknesses.

Battling alongside legendary drivers such as Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi, Hunt’s swagger on and off the track won him legions of fans. His rivalry with Lauer would only intensify throughout the season, leading up to an incident at the German Grand Prix that would change the sport—and the drivers’ lives—forever.

This isn’t the first trip to the 1970s for Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan. Their previous collaboration for Universal Pictures, Frost/Nixon, earned five Academy Award® nominations, including nods for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Film. Morgan’s previous credits include State of Play, The Other Boleyn Girl, and The Queen. Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy) and Alexandra Maria Lara (The Reader) round out the cast as the drivers’ wives, who must cope with a sport that puts their love at risk with the drop of every green flag.

The Associated Press’ Jake Coyle calls Rush "not only one of the better racing films, it’s one of Howard’s best." Village Voice film critic Stephanie Zacharek cites the film’s "fleet, exhilarating, stunning" race sequences, as well as its "perceptive dual character study." Rush opened in the United Kingdom on September 13, and Universal Pictures distributes the film in wide release across the United States on September 27, 2013.