Gran Turismo movie tells the story of an ambitious Darlington, United Kingdom native, Jann Mardenborogh, who used his love for the Gran Turismo video game to become a professional racer and put on the unconventional way one could achieve one’s dream.
In the movie, Archie Madekwe takes on the role of Mardenborough, and we watch him accomplish his goal of becoming a professional race car driver against his father’s (Djimon Hounsou) wishes, who just clearly doesn’t understand his son’s obsessions with the Gran Turismo video game and car racing.
Jann gets an opportunity to prove just how good he is when he hops in the virtual cockpit of a racing car to win a chance to attend the GT Academy (yes, this was a real thing), the ambitious idea of Danny Cox in real life. In the film, the character’s name is Danny Moore, and Orlando Bloom plays him.
Seeing this as his only real opportunity to prove his dad wrong and make his dream come true, Jann puts his impressive skills GT skills to use and earns a spot at GT Academy, where he will compete against other players for a chance to become a professional racer on the Nissan racing team.
Luckily for Jann, he won’t have to face this journey alone. He gets guidance from Jack Salter (David Harbour), who initially thinks putting gamers into racing cars is a bad idea but eventually warms up to it.
Cassius Life spoke with the film’s stars, David Harbour and Archie Madekwe. In our conversation, we discussed them taking alternate routes to become actors and possibly playing video games professionally.
There Is No Such Thing As An Acting Simulator
In the Gran Turismo video game, there are racing lines for the player to follow, but sometimes you have to deviate to get where you want to be, and that’s on top.
We asked Harbour and Madekwe if they had to deviate or take unconventional routes or means to become actors.
“I did not have an acting simulator to play on the couch. I did play that game, the Sims, when I was growing up, and you could be an actor in that game. But that did not prepare me for the life,” Harbour begins.
I do think that every actor’s, or even every artist’s, journey is specific to themselves.
He continues, “I do think that every actor’s, or even every artist’s, journey is specific to themselves. And I know that it took a lot of tenacity. I got a ton of No’s [and] a ton of rejection early on in my career. And I had to wait tables a lot. I had to do a lot of jobs that I didn’t love. But it was just something that I had to do, and I had to find my way. So whenever anybody asks me for advice about how to find your way, tenacity is important, but it will be revealed to you. And the best advice I’ve ever been given is never take advice.”
And the best advice I’ve ever been given is never take advice.
Archie Madekwe’s Route Was Very Straightforward
“And then for me, kind of what David said. I think every person’s journey is so individual and so separate. I went to a school called the BRIT School,” Madekwe tells Cassius Life.
“It’s the only free performing art school in the UK. And then, I knew I wanted to have [a] quite a well-rounded career that would jump between theater, film, [and] TV. I knew that from a very young age. And there’s a thing, especially in the UK, there’s a real typecast thing, especially for people of color.”
He continues, “And so, the only way that you break through that is by training at these British drama schools. And that is not an individual experience. That is an experience of many British actors, but especially, I think, young people of color. I weirdly felt that it put this weird stamp of approval on you that I can do other things. It makes people, if you’ve trained, and you’ve done Shakespeare, and you’ve done Chekhov, and you’ve done these other things, all of a sudden people believe that now you can be in something else that’s not just playing urban youth. And so, that was very much my route. It’s not unconventional. It was very conventional, I think. But that was my way through.”
Could David Harbour & Archie Madekwe Cut It As Professional Gamers?
It’s no secret David Harbour is a big-time gamer, and Madekwe’s involvement in a PlayStation Productions film introduces him to the world of blockbuster video games.
We asked both actors if they could pick up the sticks professionally; what game would it be for? Both Harbour and Madekwe admit they don’t have the skills to compete professionally but express their love for video games.
“Oh, God. I’m just not good enough to play a game,” Harbour quickly replied, with Madekwe adding, “That’s a lie, dude. Are you kidding me? You’re definitely good enough to play.”
Harbour continues, “No, I mean, I’ve logged the hours. I’m not saying I haven’t tried, but the natural talent is extremely low. The enjoyment factor is extremely high. I love to play them, but I am just no good. I mean, you watch these kids. It’s a talent like anything else. I used to watch RTS games like StarCraft, these tournaments, and these kids out of Korea would come in with, they say these actions per minute would be over 400, which is like eight actions a second with your fingers for about 30 minutes.”
“There’s a genius, reflex-wise, to the people that have talent at video games, and I do not possess that. But if there was a reward for playing a bunch of games, I would say that the entire Blizzard library has sucked so much time out of my life. World of Warcraft, Diablo IV, now I’m playing. All those games, I love them.”
Madekwe adds, “I would say that gaming is a new venture for me. As I’m now in a PlayStation film, I’m being sent lots of games, and it begins here. If I was going to do something professionally, I guess I could build houses on the Sims professionally. Hit the mother load again and again and again. Re-up on that money, and I can make houses on the Sims for days. For days, for days.”
Gran Turismo is now playing in theaters nationwide.
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