Jerry Bruckheimer on Joseph Kosinski’s Formula 1 film: “We’ve made two movies” (exclusive)

Formula 1 Joseph Kosinski
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Producer Jerry Bruckheimer talks to us about director Joseph Kosinski’s untitled Formula 1 movie and the impact of last year’s strikes on its filming.

In early May 2024, reports emerged that Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski’s upcoming Formula 1 movie had a budget in excess of $300m. An already expensive production due to its real-world racing sequences and A-list stars – including Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem – its costs were reportedly pushed even higher by 2023’s Hollywood strikes.

There were even reports that footage captured during last year’s Silverstone British Grand Prix race had to be scrapped because the sponsor logos splashed across that year’s cars had changed between the 2023 and 2024 racing seasons – something a spokesperson from the FIA (the Formula 1 racing body) denied.

Speaking to Film Stories, producer Jerry Bruckheimer recently confirmed that the strikes had affected its production, but suggested that the delays could ultimately have a positive effect on the finished movie.

“We got delayed because of the strike, but we were fortunate because in the downtime during the strike, Joe [Kosinski] got to shoot all of his second unit,” Bruckheimer told us. “So during the strike, we were filming at every race, and kept moving. Now we’re back to shooting actors – putting actors in the cars and doing all that stuff.”

In essence, Bruckheimer said, the strike meant that Kosinski and his team were able to capture more racing footage than they’d originally expected last year, while this year’s filming will be dedicated to shooting the drama. Brad Pitt stars as Sonny Hayes, a retired racing driver turned mentor to a talented young hopeful played by Damson Idris. Javier Bardem, Kerry Condon and real-world driver Lewis Hamilton (most likely playing himself) also star.

“We’ve made two movies,” Bruckheimer said. “The first movie was all the second unit work, and now we’re making the dramatic story. But it’s gonna be terrific – a really interesting film… We were fortunate that Joe really got to direct the visual stuff, because normally you can’t afford that.”

Read more: Top Gun Maverick review | Crikey

Kosinski has previously said that one of his big influences is John Frankenheimer’s 1966 classic, Grand Prix, which combined footage of real-world Formula 1 races and customised cars (James Garner drove a Formula 3 car with an F1 shell on top) and eventually won three Oscars. It’s an approach Kosinski has followed for his film, with Pitt and Idris both driving custom cars devised by Mercedes and the director himself.

“Brad is driving the cars – he trained for three months to drive those cars,” Bruckheimer said. “We have an F1 body that was designed by Joe, our director, and Mercedes over an F2 engine. And the thing goes 200 miles per hour – it’s unbelievable. Brad drives all nine tracks. And Damson, who plays the second lead along with Javier Bardem and Kerry Condon… Damson’s in the car also. He’s really fast – they both are. Both terrific drivers.”

One detail Bruckheimer wouldn’t be drawn on, though, was a title: on IMDb, it’s listed as Untitled Joseph Kosinski Project.

“Uhh… we’re workin’ through it,” was all the veteran producer would say about the title when we asked about the title.

Bruckheimer’s latest film is Young Woman And The Sea, a period biopic about champion swimmer Gertrude Ederle’s pioneering attempt to swim the English channel in 1926. Directed by Joachim Ronning and starring Daisy Ridley, it’s another Bruckheimer-produced film – like Top Gun: Maverick and Kosinski’s F1 movie – that filmed in real-world locations rather than rely exclusively on CGI or sound stages.

“[Daisy Ridley] was in the water when we were filming for 12, 14 hours a day, freezing,” Bruckheimer said. “And when you look at the movie, there’s very little visual effects – it’s actually made in the ocean.”

Young Woman And The Sea is out in UK cinemas on the 31st May. Joseph Kosinski’s Formula 1 film is scheduled for release on the 27th June 2025.

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