Ferrari hosted an unusual visit from Hollywood last Wednesday when director Ron Howard, producer Eric Fellner, and screenwriter Peter Morgan traveled to the Prancing Horse’s Maranello headquarters. Seems they were on hand to discuss their upcoming film project, Rush. Currently in pre-production with principal photography scheduled to begin in February, the film will depict legendary Ferrari race driver Niki Lauda’s perilous quest in 1976 to repeat as Formula One Champion. After suffering a seeming season-ending accident at the Nürburgring course midway through the race schedule, Lauda staged a miraculous comeback just a few weeks later and returned to drive. With the championship still hanging in the balance as the season concluded at the Japanese Grand Prix, Lauda voluntarily retired mid-race under the intimidation of driving rain, ceding the crown to Englishman James Hunt, who drove a Ford/Cosworth-powered McLaren.
Meeting with Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who was in charge of the Ferrari race team (or scuderia) in 1976, and Niki Lauda himself, the Hollywood veterans reportedly explained their storytelling angle as well as some of the script’s turns. It is fair to speculate that the producers also explored Ferrari’s potential cooperation with access to race advisors and test tracks, like the Fiorano circuit outside of Maranello. Regardless of what was actually discussed, it’s safe to assume the chat went well, as Lauda took Howard for a spin in the new Ferrari FF following the meeting.
Loosely scheduled for a 2013 release, Rush currently has several notable actors attached to it, including Olivia Wilde and Chris Hemsworth, with Russell Crowe as a rumored participant.
Pictured at top, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, Formula 1 racing legend Niki Lauda, director Ron Howard, producer Eric Fellner, and screenwriter Peter Morgan pose with a Ferrari FF. Below, Lauda offers an appreciative Ron Howard a thrilling ride.