Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page


Supermodels and Teammates: Supporting Cast
No man is an island, and each of the talented co- stars elevated the performances of the Rush troupe. To a person, the supporting cast was committed to not doing impressions, but capturing the essence of the characters they were honored to portray.

Olivia Wilde, known to audiences from her work on the medical drama House, M.D., as well as such films as TRON: Legacy and Drinking Buddies, plays Suzy Miller Hunt, the famous model whom James marries, then neglects. The actress jumped at the chance to work with Howard. "Ron is incredibly collaborative," she gives. "He trusts his actors and crew, hiring the right people for their parts in the machine and then he lets it roll. That's why there are all these lightning-in-a-bottle moments that make his films so effective. He understands both the emotional and technical side of acting, marrying those two challenges to bring a character to life and get it into the film appropriately."

The actress found her character -- who went on to have a torrid love affair with Richard Burton -- the perfect foil for Hunt. She suggests: "Suzy is everything James would have wanted at that high point of his career, when everything was exciting and new. Then, as time goes on, things become more difficult. They have to grow up, and we see Suzy become more conscious of what she needs in order to be happy. She can't live for James and take care of him as he needs. She has to take care of herself."

While many co-stars clamor for more screen time, Wilde has a refreshing take on her part. She shares: "Sometimes, you read a scene and don't understand the significance of it in the story. But when you shoot it, you understand why it's a vital piece. In my supporting role there's one scene in particular that felt that way: when Suzy watches James win the championship. It's everything he's ever wanted, and she wants it for him. She has an incredibly emotional reaction to it, and you sense her love for him. It humanizes him, and certainly her as well. That was the moment when I felt proud of what we had done with that small slice of the story because it's not just a failed love affair. There was something tragic about what they tried to do but couldn't. Still, there was a part of their love that survived, nonetheless."

Hunt wasn't the only driver to feel the passionate love of a gorgeous woman. Romanian-born Alexandra Maria Lara, known for her work in such diverse projects as Anton Corbijn's Control, Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth and Stephen Daldry's The Reader, was brought aboard to portray Lauda's wife Marlene. Lara echoes Wilde's sentiments about their captain: "Ron's amazing because he has this incredible energy that makes younger people look rather lazy. There were so many details he had to concentrate on that needed to be perfect. At the same time, he laughs a lot and is a very warm person as well. He makes an actor feel comfortable, free and good on the set. I was absolutely blown away. I really loved working with Ron."

In contrast to the jetsetter that was Suzy Miller, Marlene Lauda is the ever-supportive wife and partner, even after her husband's disfiguring accident. "We shot some very intense scenes in the hospital after the accident," Lara provides. "As difficult as it was for her to imagine her husband risking his life on the track again, she had no choice but to say, 'You have to carry on.' That was incredible to me because at first Marlene thinks she has lost her husband, that there was no chance of surviving this tragic accident. The whole experience must have been so traumatic and heartbreaking. But she was the type of woman who understood his passion and didn't stop him from getting back into the car."

Of course, not all of Marlene and Niki's time together was tragedy. "We also shot a scene where they spend some wonderful days together before the accident," provides Lara. "He relaxes a little bit, maybe for the first time. It's a moment in which he realizes he has something to live for besides racing."

Coincidentally, Lara and Bruhl share the same agent, but they'd not worked together before. Still, their chemistry clicked from the beginning. "I was very impressed after the read-through," Lara says. "They can be quite a dry thing normally, many people sitting around the table, but Daniel gave a good impression of how he would play the part. In my opinion, it's a brilliant performance."

Italian-native PIERFRANCESCO FAVINO, who co-starred in Howard's Angels & Demons and was last seen in World War Z, was brought on to portray Lauda's competition at Ferrari, infamous Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni. Coincidentally, Favino had done an Italian television film about Enzo Ferrari and was familiar with this world. Eager to once again work with Howard, the performer advises Regazzoni was a childhood hero: "I remember him from his big moustache and the fact that he was Swiss-Italian. We were all great fans of him." As he researched more of the F1 world, Favino became fascinated by the "hyper-human heroes who face the possibility of death -- and the adrenaline rush that comes with it -- every day."

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy's Christian McKay plays Lord Hesketh, a major influence in James Hunt's early racing career. Alexander Hesketh, the Third Baron Hesketh, was a motor racing enthusiast who used money from a large inheritance to fund Hesketh Racing. Hunt, who was about the same age as the baron, started with Hesketh in Formula 3 and eventually moved up with a Hesketh car to F1, until his patron ran short of funds. The flamboyant lord and his team were perfect fits for Hunt. McKay remarks that he was intrigued by the jingoism and ancient rivalries Morgan elucidated in his script. He says, "Lord Hesketh is one of those rather wonderful, larger-than-life characters that you couldn't invent. We met people who knew him who said he was even more outrageous than I'm playing him, which is quite a thing. He spent his family's entire fortune on Formula 1. Later, this incredible character became chief whip in the House of Lords for John Major's government."

STEPHEN MANGAN, of Billy Elliot fame, co- stars as Alastair Caldwell, Hunt's chief mechanic at McLaren who served as a technical and historical realism consultant on Rush. Mangan had both the advantage and the added challenge of having the real Caldwell's presence on set: "It was fantastic to have the real guy right there. Fantastic and slightly annoying, because if you get anything wrong he'll go, 'No, it wasn't like that.' So I'd have to say, 'We're making a film, not a documentary."

British sitcom Green Wing's JULIAN RHIND-TUTT was cast as Anthony "Bubbles" Horsley, Hunt's chief mechanic at Hesketh. "Bubbles was one of James' principal mechanics in the early part of his career and remained a confidante throughout his racing life," Rhind-Tutt says. "They were a very close-knit team, and I think Bubbles viewed Lauda the same as James. He was part of the rivalry and one of the strategists for Hunt's tactics. I didn't get to meet Bubbles before filming, but we have done a lot of research into the team dynamics and the group that was supporting James. We hope we've captured the flavor of that camaraderie."

Providing the on-screen racing commentary is Cloud Atlas'ALISTAIR PETRIE, who portrayed legendary driver-turned-analyst Stirling Moss. "Moss was retired by the time Hunt and Lauda were racing in 1976 but he was still very much a part of that world," Petrie says. "He showed James Hunt the ropes and, I think, a few good times in Monaco. Formula 1 is built on the rivalries. There are team rivalries in other sports but with racing, it's a man in a car against another man in a car. Hunt and Lauda's rivalry was one of the most famous. I think the public took to their relationship because of the nature of a sporting rivalry, which we all love to live vicariously through."

Rounding out the team is Goya's Ghosts' DAVID CALDER, who portrays Louis Stanley, the colorful chair of British Racing Motors; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay's NATALIE DORMER as Gemma, Hunt's extremely attentive nurse; and The Bourne Ultimatum's COLIN STINTON as American racing entrepreneur Teddy Mayer.

Next Production Note Section


Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.

2018 8,  All Rights Reserved.


Find:  HELP!