Posts Tagged ‘Rush’


I started this postcard thing a couple of years ago to help keep the blog going when I was on the road or busy on productions and couldn’t devote time to a new post. But this blog also celebrates a sense of place so it’s an opportunity to do that at the same time.

Yesterday after a shoot at Disney World I took the above photo of an old train depot. I haven’t seen it in over a decade but decided to check it out because traffic was bad on I-4. A few hours later I went to see the movie Rush and when I reflected on the day I realized it stirred a lot of memories. A lot of odd connections.  Yesterday just happened to be the exact day Disney World opened in 1971. Keeping with the 70s theme the movie Rush is set in the 1970s. Two of my biggest teenage influences in the 70s were the Eagles’ album Hotel California and the photographer Ansel Adams. If you know both of them you know how that formed my taking the above photo.

Ron Howard who I watched faithfully in the 70s when he was an actor on Happy Days, directed Rush. I went to see Rush with my wife who happened to do extra work on another Ron Howard film, Parenthood, that was shot in Orlando. And finally in the movie Rush one of the Formula One race drivers featured is the great Mario Andretti. One of the first jobs I had in the Orlando area when I was a teenager was a place called Mario Andretti’s Gran Prix International which was glorified go karts dressed up to look like mini-formula one cars. It was a fun job.

Sorry for the detour, but hope you like the photo.

BTW— I thought Rush was terrific.

Scott W. Smith

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On this repost Saturday I’m going back to a post I wrote 2 1/2 years ago on Ron Howard. While his latest film Rush (centered around the effects of a race car accident) gets a wide release here in the States this weekend, many people may be unaware that his feature directorial debut released back in 1977–also had to do with cars crashing. Here’s the original trailer for Grand Theft Auto, followed by the post that first ran on February of 2011.

“I literally thought I might get fired at lunch.”
Ron Howard
Speaking about the first day of shooting his first feature film at age 23.
(Grand Theft Auto for Roger Corman. A film Ron co-wrote with his actor father, Rance Howard.)

Ron Howard has had one of the most amazing careers in entertainment history. First, as a youth and a young man he was an actor in several iconic TV shows and movies; The Andy Griffith Show, The Music Man, Happy Days and American Graffiti. He played Huck Finn, met Walt Disney and had cameo parts on Gunsmoke, Lassie, M*A*S*H, The Waltons, and The Twilight Zone. He acted alongside Hollywood legends John Wayne and Lauren Bacall in The Shootist where he earned a Golden Globe nomination.

Then as he shifted to directing he started his education at USC and finished it directing a feature for Roger Corman. From there he’s gone on to make over 30 more films including and as varied as Apollo 13, Cocoon, Slash, Backdraft, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Da Vinci Code. In 2002, he won two Oscars for his role as producer and director on A Beautiful Mind. Howard has also won a few Emmys as one of the producers of Arrested Development and From Earth to the Moon.

He comes from a perspective few, if any, can match— accomplish actor, low-budget filmmaker, Oscar-winning Hollywood producer/director. So just maybe he’d be a good person to listen to as the film business transitions to actually not having anything to do with literal film strips. A time when people are asking, “Will there even be movie theaters in the future?”

“It can be unsettlingAny time you go through a period when technology and delivery systems and distribution systems broaden and change, when there are generational shifts—all that influences what filmmakers do, the decisions they make, the kinds of projects they can work on. But I sometimes think about this 96-year-old guy, named Charles Rainsbury, who had a tiny speaking part in Cocoon. He’d been an actor and a film crew member when Fort Lee, New Jersey, was the center of the film world. He hadn’t been on a set since 1915, 1916. When I asked him how movies had changed since then, he said, ‘We didn’t have to shut up when they were shooting then; otherwise, it’s the same, hurry up and wait.’ And I find that comforting. As we go through this period of transition and worry about whether people are seeing our movies in multiplexes or on cell phones—or seeing them at all—I’m reminded that the thing I love is this process that hasn’t changed so much: You try to tell a story that’s meaningful, and share it with people. What really gets me out of bed in the morning is this lifestyle that I’ve always been a part of: the creative problem-solving, the collaboration.”
Ron Howard
DGA Quarterly/Fall 2009

See it’s not really the film biz after all—it’s the story biz. Go tell some meaningful stories.

Link to Ron Howard’s Oscar Acceptance Speech.

Scott W. Smith

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“A rivalry is an act of obsession and love, I wanted [Rush] to feel like a love story even though they were just bashing the living daylights out of each other.”
Rush screenwriter Peter Morgan
Reuter/Rush screenwriter inspired by rivalry, not Formula On racing

“[Rush] was suggested to me by my friend George Lucas, and it was enthralling because of both the unique characters and the thrilling drama of motorsports. When I started working with screenwriter Peter Morgan, we immediately understood that there was the opportunity to make a film that was fresh and different. He’s exceptional in unearthing these surprising conflicts in personal relationships, and the fact that Lauda and Hunt were so different allowed us to work on their profiles in an original way….The main theme is ambition. The level of ambition that’s necessary to overcome fear. Rush also tries to answer a simple, but terrifying question – what pushes a man to flirt so much with death?”
Rush Director Ron Howard
RUSH:The Movie—A Ron Howard Interview

Related Post (Theme, Character, Conflict Emotion cover a lot of ground)
Ron Howard and the Story Biz
Theme (What Your Movie is Really About)
Writing from Theme
Martin Luther King & Screenwriting (Tip #7) “Strong-willed characters”
Everything I Learned in Film School (Tip #1) “Conflict, conflict, conflict”
40 Days of Emotion

P.S. Ron Howard’s two Oscar-Awards were for producing and directing Frost/Nixon, a film which brought Morgan his second screenwriting Oscar-nomination.

Scott W. Smith

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“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” 
Mario Andretti

“The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel.”
From the Rush movie trailer

The movie Rush hits theaters tomorrow with great expectations. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always had a fondness for the racing movie Heart Like a Wheel that was released back in 1983—before some of you were born. Bonnie Bedelia shines from the script written Ken Friedman.  While You Tube may not be the ideal way to watch a movie, the video below makes for a nice precursor to the release of Rush tomorrow.

P.S. One of the great phrases from my youth growing up  in Florida was the radio ads that went something like this, “‘Big Daddy’ Garlits and Shirley ‘Cha-Cha’ Muldowney this FRIDAY, SATURDAY, AND SUNDAY at the Gainesville International Raceway. BE THERE! BE THERE! BE THERE!” (Heavy reverb in all the right spots.)

Related post: What’s at Stake? (Tip #9)

Scott W. Smith

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