Race Weekend Central

Reel Racing: Everything We Know About Joseph Kosinski’s & Brad Pitt’s Upcoming F1 Film

As I’ve said seven million times in this column series, racing films — and good ones, at that — are very hard to come by.

It’s an unfortunate truth we motorsports movie nerds have to live with.

That said, the last few weeks have brought to light even further details of the upcoming Formula 1 project helmed by director Joseph Kosinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, starring Oscar winner Brad Pitt. The film is reportedly titled Apex, though that still seems a bit tenuous at this point.

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Pitt’s film career spans more than 35 years and 100+ credits, while Bruckheimer has produced more than 50. Kosinski’s name might be new to some, but he’s no stranger to big budgets. He directed last year’s Top Gun: Maverick and also has a few other films to his name: 2010’s Tron: Legacy, 2013’s Oblivion (also starring Tom Cruise), 2017’s Only the Brave and 2022’s Spiderhead. I’m no stranger to crying at movies, and Only the Brave is up there with those that had the most impact on me in that regard — the last 10 minutes absolutely destroyed me.

Additionally, Ehren Kruger, who was nominated for an Oscar for writing Maverick, will team up again with Kosinski and Bruckheimer for this film.

Also cast is Kerry Condon, nominated for an Oscar this past year for The Banshees of Inisherin and also with credits in several Marvel films, as well as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Dreamland and more. Damson Idris, an alum of Black Mirror episode “Smithereens” and the Liam Neeson film The Commuter, will also star.

Most recently, Pitt’s credits include portraying stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, for which he won that Oscar, plus Damien Chazelle’s three-hour, debauchery-filled tour de force Babylon, the space epic Ad Astra and David Leitch’s incredibly fun action thriller Bullet Train. Further back, Pitt was in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as well as everything from Se7en to Fight Club to 12 Years a Slave to Burn After Reading to the underrated Fury.

Back to the production at hand! Longtime Formula 1 reporter, journalist and industry staple Will Buxton moderated a discussion with Kosinski and Bruckheimer, in which it was announced that an “11th team” was set to be created, planned to film on-track at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone through the end of the 2023 season.

Pitt will be in the cockpit of that car as the team works to get on-track footage, aiming to make it “the most accurate racing film ever made.” The practical camerawork in Maverick (which should’ve been nominated for and won Best Cinematography at the 2023 Oscars, mind you) featured innovation of camera placement in actual plane cockpits. There’s a reason I saw that movie three times in IMAX.

Buxton tweeted that Kosinski, Bruckheimer and co. have spent nearly two years creating the “smallest moveable 6K camera ever designed” in order to film sequences inside the cockpit, which will put audiences alongside with Pitt and other cast members for the ride.

Mercedes developed the car, Lewis Hamilton is serving as an advisor and I don’t doubt F1 drivers, personalities and otherwise past and present are also participating.

Buxton noted in his tweet thread that John Frankenheimer’s 1966 film Grand Prix, widely hailed as one of the best racing films ever made, is the most significant barometer he’s using.

And Cruise has apparently offered to do some auxiliary driving if needed. Let’s keep our fingers crossed it reignites his interest in doing (another) racing movie.

There’s also a veil of hope here that, considering Kosinski helmed the “legacyquel” with Maverick, he could also potentially work on the same for Days of Thunder down the road. Let’s next focus on making the most accurate NASCAR movie ever made.

I mean, come on. If you’re not already excited for this, I don’t know what will change that at this point.

About the author

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Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he covered sports there and later spent a year and a half as a sports host on 910 the Fan in Richmond, VA. He's freelanced for Richmond Magazine and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and also hosts the "Adam Cheek's Sports Week" podcast. Adam has followed racing 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.

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Well, they missed the realism already. I don’t care how young Brad Pitt looks for the film to be realistic he shouldn’t be the driver. Also Tom Cruise shouldn’t drive in a sequel to Days of Thunder. I am 55 and race a 410 sprint car so you think I would be all for the casting decisions. But I am more about realistic depictions so when new fans watch a real race because of the movie they say the movie got it right.

Tom B

It just might be impossible to make a good race car movie. I think real detailed documentaries are the way to go for us race fans. Hollywood just screws the whole premise of the sport. Hollywood needs to have a love story. The only ones I can think of is that would be a good story is Guy Trolinger, Mari Hulman George and Elmer George. Another good love story would be Poncho Carter and Johnny Parson Jr mom with Duane Carter and Johnny Parsons.

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