Top Gun, but make it Formula 1: director Joseph Kosinski has the need for speed (again).
Fresh off the box-office success of the director’s legacy sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which came out a couple weeks ago, and less than two weeks before his Netflix film Spiderhead debuts on the streaming platform, it was announced Tuesday (June 7) that Apple TV had picked up Kosinski’s next project: a previously rumored Formula 1 film starring Brad Pitt.
Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of everything from Days of Thunder to Pirates of the Caribbean to both Top Gun films to The Rock, and seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton will be producers.
Listed as “Untitled Formula One/Joseph Kosinski Project” on IMDb and simply as “F1” on Letterboxd, we don’t have much to go on yet outside of a vague plot, which Letterboxd lists as the following:
“Brad Pitt stars as a veteran driver who comes out of retirement to coach a young racer and achieve his last shot at glory.”
🏎 Apple has purchased the rights to a Formula 1 film with expected budget of $140million.
The film is set to star Brad Pitt and be directed by Top Gun’s Joseph Kosinski. Producers on the project: Jerry Bruckheimer and Sir Lewis Hamilton. pic.twitter.com/WphhgdHsNj
— Vincenzo Landino (@vincenzolandino) June 7, 2022
Kosinski directed the 2010 Tron reboot Tron: Legacy, which starred Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy and others, as well as the 2013 sci-fi film Oblivion. The latter featured Tom Cruise in the lead role, and though both were box-office successes, each was met with lukewarm critical receptions.
It was 2017 when Kosinski’s first critically successful film was released in Only the Brave, documenting the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire and the firefighter team of Granite Mountain Hotshots who fought it. Though a box-office bomb, the movie was critically acclaimed and starred Bridges, Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly and more amongst an ensemble cast. I personally can’t recommend it enough; it’s a fantastic film and absolutely rips your heart out in the last 15 minutes.
Kosinski also directed a short film, titled The Dig, in 2017.
As for his most recently released turn in the director’s chair, Top Gun: Maverick is a stunning film with some incredible practical effects, turning in a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, quickly entering the Letterboxd and IMDb Top 250s and already making back over three times its budget.
*whispers* Go see it on the biggest screen possible.
As for Pitt, he’s still working as he always has: coming off a well-deserved Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actor in 2019, which he won for his role as stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s excellent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He also starred in the sci-fi epic Ad Astra the same year.
Pitt had a small part in The Lost City earlier this year, while he’s got two massive projects on the way this year: he plays an assassin in Bullet Train, directed by David Leitch — director of Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw as well as the co-director of the first John Wick installment. That’s set to be released in August, while December brings another starring role for Pitt: the release of Babylon, directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land and First Man). Set in the “Golden Age” of Hollywood, Pitt stars alongside Margot Robbie, who’s due for an Oscar herself soon enough.
As for the Formula 1 film, the upcoming project is actually a bit reflective of original Top Gun director Tony Scott’s journey: he helmed the 1986 film and then directed racing film Days of Thunder four years later. Kosinsi filmed Maverick several years ago, and his next project is also set to be a motorsports movie.
Kosinski, like other directors before him (see Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, the Coen brothers and more), has a host of actors he’s worked with before, so don’t be shocked if you see some of them show up in this film.
Miles Teller is three-for-three in Kosinski’s most recent projects: he starred in the latter as well as Only the Brave and will also appear in Spiderhead; he’s worked with Kosinski the most. Multiple performers have two Kos-credits to their name: Cruise and Kosinski worked together on both Oblivion and Maverick, while Charles Parnell showed up in Maverick and will also be in Spiderhead.
The legendary Jeff Bridges was part of both Tron: Legacy and Only the Brave, while Taylor Kitsch appeared in both of the director’s 2017 films (Brave and The Dig). Jennifer Connelly (no way is she 51 years old) was in Only the Brave and Top Gun, as was Jake Picking.
Stay tuned to this column series for more about the film. Kosinski’s next feature, Spiderhead, is due out on Netflix June 17.
About the author
Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond's radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.