Gran Turismo: Everything We Know So Far About The Video Game Franchise's Race To The Screen

We're getting a "Gran Turismo" film late in 2023, and if that sounds odd to you, you're not alone. I cannot play racing games because they give me vertigo — even watching — but the "Gran Turismo" video game isn't exactly plot-heavy. It's racing. It's very pretty racing with really accurate cars, but after the abomination that was the "Need for Speed" film (I still cannot tell you what happened in it and I really did watch), that's a hard sell. 

It does seem, however, that Columbia Pictures has an interesting way in to this film that isn't relying on in-game plot (or the lack thereof). The game was created back in 1997 by Polys Entertainment and Kazunori Yamauchi. We're eight versions in right now, and the game has sold over a whopping 85 million copies. From what I can watch of it, it's stunning, and it looks like a whole lot of fun, giving you a pretty realistic version of what it would be like to drive a top-of-the-line sports car. 

The adaptation is the latest from Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions, which brought us the "Uncharted" film starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. Whether or not you had issues with the casting of the lead role (delightful as Holland is), the film did well, passing over $400 million in the global box office, making it the fourth highest video game adaptation in the world, and the third highest domestically. 

Where and when to watch Gran Turismo

The upcoming "Gran Turismo" film is set to hit theaters on August 11, 2023. With the way into the story they've chosen (which we'll get to), it's likely to be somewhat less effects-heavy than something like "Uncharted," but there is definitely going to be racing here. There are plenty of stunt drivers out there, of course, but depending on the extent to which the racing scenes will be enhanced with VFX, this could mean it's going to be a tight turnaround.The rest of the film, however, is likely to be able to get away with less.

What we think Gran Turismo will be about

We know the way in for this game-to-movie adaptation is a little different from others. Here is the info:

"Based on a true story, the film is the ultimate wish-fulfillment tale of a teenage 'Gran Turismo' player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan competitions to become an actual professional race car driver."

So who could this be about if it's based on a true story? 

It could be based on the story of Spanish gamer and driver Lucas Ordoñez, who won the first Nissan and PlayStation GT Academy competition in 2008, and went on to race in the Le Mans Cup in a Nissan in 2011. That's a 24-hour endurance race, in case you weren't impressed enough. In the 10 years since he has continued to race, which is pretty inspiring for kids who want to have a good excuse to their parents for gaming.

There are several gamers-turned-racers now, including Jann Mardenborough, who won the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition in 2011. He's now a veteran racer with a class podium finish at LeMans, and he also got a runner-up spot in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand. He said in an interview with The Guardian that the game is pretty close to racing, minus the G-force.

Either story could make for a great framework for the game to rest upon, and I hope they get to drive in the film. 

What we know about the cast and crew of Gran Turismo

The "Gran Turismo" film will be directed by Neill Blomkamp, who is reportedly a huge fan of the game. Blomkamp directed "District 9," "Elysium," "Chappie," and "Demonic," in addition to a whole lot of shorts and some music videos. He was also a writer on all those films, and a producer on all but "District 9."

We're getting a screenplay for "Gran Turismo" from Jason Hall ("American Sniper," "Thank You For Your Service") and Zach Baylin ("King Richard"). The producers of the film are PlayStation Productions' Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan, Doug Belgrad, and Dana Brunetti. Of course, the production comes to us from PlayStation Productions and Sony Pictures.

On the acting side, David Harbour ("Stranger Things") will play the retired driver who teaches the teen "Gran Turismo" player (played by "Midsommar" actor Archie Madekwe) to drive. Dijon Hounsou ("A Quiet Place Part II") and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell-Horner will play his parents, with Daniel Puig ("Naomi") as his brother. Josha Stradowski ("The Wheel of Time") plays a rival driver, with Thomas Kretschman ("King Kong") as his father. Orlando Bloom ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) and Darren Barnett ("Never Have I Ever") are also cast.