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Gran Turismo: Neill Blomkamp's Personal Passion Prompted Him To Join The Movie

Neill Blomkamp isn't necessarily known for bringing light-hearted movies to the big screen. The director's projects usually focus on social commentary, rooting themselves in science fiction, like "District 9" and "Elysium." However, his next project, "Gran Turismo," trades in the dystopian future for a racing video game, but Blomkamp found new inspiration to bring the story to life.

In an interview with PlayStation Blog, Blomkamp reflected on how "Gran Turismo" found its way to his desk while trying to get one of his patented sci-fi movies off the ground. "My first thought was, 'Wait, how do you make a film out of a racing simulator?' But I read the screenplay, and I personally own three [Nissan] R35 GTRs – I have a personal obsession with Nissan and the whole Nismo lineage – so I was immediately intrigued as a car lover."

Blomkamp recognizes that "Gran Turismo" is a large departure from his usual projects, which is part of what interested him. "My stuff tends to be a lot darker and more dystopian," he said, "but this movie felt, well, very inspirational. It had never crossed my mind that I would direct a movie where the audience would leave the theater feeling uplifted and inspired."

Gran Turismo isn't your typical video game adaptation

While it may seem funny for a video game movie to leave audiences "uplifted and inspired," "Gran Turismo" isn't like any of its predecessors. The film isn't a direct adaptation of any video game plotline. Instead, it brings the story of Jann Mardenborough to the big screen, a gamer whose talents in the virtual world led him to a professional racing career. So, while "Gran Turismo" plays a role in the story, the project wasn't a massive pre-established IP that most video game adaptations must consider. 

"One great thing is that there weren't a bunch of executives who would say, 'Well, actually, we think it should be like this,'" Blomkamp told PlayStation Blog. "If you're working on another IP with a more established universe or narrative, everyone has preconceived ideas about how things should be. But, with 'Gran Turismo,' you have a well-known IP that doesn't carry these preconceived notions about what its film adaptation should look like. This gave me a lot of creative freedom to just go out and, you know, make it." 

The result looks to be a video game movie that's much more grounded in reality. While it's clear that audiences still appreciate near 1:1 adaptations, like "Super Mario Bros," "Gran Turismo" seems like a breath of fresh air, offering a new creative entry into the growing genre.