Gran Turismo Star Recalls Intense Pressure To Get Sim Driving Right: “The Fans Are Just So Meticulous”



  • Gran Turismo‘s unique approach to incorporating the actual game into the movie makes driving an important part of its performances, satisfying fans’ desire for accuracy in game adaptations.
  • Actor Archie Madekwe felt immense pressure to accurately portray a skilled Gran Turismo player in the movie, as fans are meticulous and can easily spot if someone is not good at the game.
  • Early audience reactions have been mostly positive, indicating that the extra efforts to accurately depict the game have resonated with fans of the source material. However, critics have had mixed feelings about the movie’s loose telling of the true story.

In order to get in the mindset of his game-obsessed character, Archie Madekwe went endured intense pressure to prepare for Gran Turismo‘s simulated driving sequences. Helmed by District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp, the adaptation of the Sony racing game franchise chronicles the true story of Jann Mardenborough, a Gran Turismo fanatic who aspires to be a real racer and gets the chance to do so when Nissan sponsors a competition for the best player to become a professional driver. Alongside Madekwe, the ensemble Gran Turismo cast includes David Harbour, Orlando Bloom and Djimon Hounsou.

Ahead of the movie’s release, and prior to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with Archie Madekwe to discuss Gran Turismo. In looking at the movie’s simulated driving sequences, in which his character would play the eponymous video game, the star recalled the intense pressure to get the feeling just right, with the team ensuring they avoiding any major criticisms from fans of the franchise. See what Madekwe shared below:

Yes, I passed my test a week before I got to set, and there were high stakes. I had to pass in two weeks. It was all very quick. I was shooting another film at the time, and I was taking my lessons at night. All very intense, and that was an added intensity. Gran Turismo was a little more fun. I had months to prepare, so me and my trainer, David, became so close. And just every single night I’d be racing and racing. But every single scene that you see me playing Gran Turismo, I’m playing in real life. I had to be good, and there was immense pressure in that way because the fans are just so meticulous. They know if someone’s good or not. We needed to know that I knew how to play. In a lot of those scenes, David would be in the back just screaming instructions to me, making sure I got it right and I had my hands in the same way. I’d put my hands up the steering wheel, and he’d be like, “No, you hold it like this. The sim drivers will kill you if you put your hands up like that.” And so it was constant, constant, constant adjustments. Both fun; both different skill sets. Nothing is as hard as being in the cars.

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and the movie covered here would not exist without the labor of the writers and actors in both unions.

Why Driving Is Such An Important Part Of Gran Turismo’s Performances

Archie Madekwe as Jann Mardenborough in Gran Turismo.

Unlike the majority of recent video game adaptations, Gran Turismo is taking a unique approach to its material by focusing on a real-world story connected to its source material, an understandable one given the games have no real story at their heart. By including its actual namesake within the movie itself, though, it actually taps into a fun Easter egg the genre has featured a number of times over the years, with 2007’s Hitman finding two teenagers playing the eponymous game, while the more recent Twisted Metal show also included a case of the original PlayStation game.

Taking a more serious approach to including the Gran Turismo game in the upcoming movie makes driving an important part of its performances, both with its simulated and real-world versions. With audiences becoming more particular about game adaptations as the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog and The Last of Us break the genre’s curse, it should be comforting to hear how Madekwe and his team strove to be as accurate as possible in ensuring his Jann felt as real of a gamer as the actual figure.

Related: 7 Movies & Shows That Prove The Video Game Adaptation Curse Is Dead

Early audience reactions have been largely favorable in their early responses to Gran Turismo, indicating that these extra efforts have resonated with those who love the source material. Critics, on the other hand, have been more mixed in their feelings about the movie, appreciating its underdog formula and fast-paced action, while taking some issues with its loose telling of the real story. With the movie set to face off against the continuing dominance of Barbie and already well-received Blue Beetle at the box office, it will be interesting to see if audiences moved by its heartwarming story inspire success.

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