Director Ron Howard has admitted that he'd never hear of 1970s Formula One race car drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt until screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/ Nixon) handed him the Rush script and even then he had to research the legendary European drivers using Wikipedia. Why then, having no particular interest in racing, especially that which took place across the pond forty years ago, did Apollo 13 director Howard decide that turning the story of F1 rivalries into his upcoming movie, Rush, would be a good idea?

Ron Howard
Ron Howard's Latest Movie Rush Was A Bit Of A Risk.

Ron certainly took a risk; with sports movies, the storyline can get lost in the detail so it's vital that there's a passionate force behind it making sure audiences can feel every emotion. Howard explained to the Wall Street Journal how he managed to translate his learning curve into a movie that will be accessible to all audiences, including the female market, regardless of whether they follow racing or have any mechanical knowledge.

"It was really fun to understand a sport that combines cutting-edge technology with very dangerous competition," he says. "The visceral, cool and sexy element offered a kind of cinematic experience that nowadays exists only with sci-fi."

Watch The Rush Trailer:

In Howard's native USA, Nascar racing is much more popular than Formula One but the director still felt that the script had potential to crowdplease on both sides of the Atlantic. First, he had to read up on who the racecar drivers were: "I looked them up on Wikipedia," he admits.

He also explained the appeal of the sportsmen so driven towards beating each other, they risked their own lives: "Maybe this is the American in me identifying this," he says, "but both these guys are utterly and entirely individuals-there was no Yoda telling them to seek their higher self."

Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth Plays Playboy Racer James Hunt.

Set in the golden age of racing, the 1970s, Rush follows the English James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and the Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) who are both at the top of their game and in close competition with each other. Party animal Hunt differs drastically from the more studious Lauda, but both men share the same goal: to win the 1976 German Grand Prix.

In a tragic turn, Lauda's car fails and bursts into flames, giving him burns to the face and lungs. After just six weeks he returns to the driving seat, still in bandages, for another face-off against Hunt at the Italian Grand Prix.

Daniel Bruhl
Daniel Brühl Plays The Tenacious Niki Lauda.

Financed in England, the movie also marks Howard's first independently financed project and premiered in London on 2 September. Rush will be widely released on 13 September (UK) and 27 September (USA).