TODAY

TODAY   |  July 24, 2013

Ron Howard portrays ‘engaging’ Formula 1 world in ‘Rush’

The director talks about his upcoming film “Rush,” which tells the true story of two rivals in 1970s Formula 1 racing, James Hunt and Niki Lauda, and the explosive crash that nearly killed Lauda in 1976. NBC’s Andrea Canning reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back now at 8:38 with a sneak peek at oscar winning director ron howard 's upcoming movie. andrea sat down with howard and the man at the center of the heart pounding drama. nice to see you. good morning.

>> good morning. you're a formula one fan.

>> i like racing.

>> i'm not particularly but i love this movie which is a good sign.

>> that's a good review.

>> it's not all about the racing. there's a lot of drama. it tells the story of two rivals back in the 70s. he was nearly killed in a horrific crash at the site of the 1976 german grand prix and that where i caught up with them together.

>> reporter: as it's name implies "rush" is high energy , action packed, and full of drama.

>> incredible match between these two great drivers.

>> reporter: set in the competitive world of formula one racing , the film tells the true story of the intense rivalry between two of the sports stars of the 1970s . james hunt , played by chris hemsworth and nikki louda.

>> and cut.

>> reporter: oscar winning director ron howard says this movie is through of surprises.

>> first of all, i don't think people expect the sexuality, the energy from me. but people who don't really relate to formula one or know much about it are really surprised by how engaging it is and emotional and surveillanspensive.

>> a key part of the story is the horrific near fatal crash at the 1976 german grand prix . this is video from the actual crash. the scene was recreated down to the last detail for the film. with with nicky leading the way down the same track that nearly took his life 37 years ago, we follow add long to the site of the crash.

>> what's it like walking along this track?

>> tough. the trees and everything are still here. so i was lucky to get away with it.

>> how hot did you get? how long were you in the car for?

>> 55 seconds, 850 degrees.

>> it sounds impossible to even survive something like that.

>> i took all the flames in with all the fumes and damaged my lungs, so basically i was dead when i came to the hospital. they said i would never survive but thank god i did.

>> not only did he survive, he would return to racing just six weeks after his accident.

>> i think you look great for what you went through.

>> thank you.

>> will you show us your injuries or is that --

>> no, basically i have all of this here. ear is gone. but this is nothing. that's it and then i had the transplant all over the face here and two operations here because the eye needed to come back up. thank god my eyesight was never damaged.

>> how hard was it to recreate such an explosive crash.

>> fire is frightening to work around. we were recreating the fire but there were times when the whole crew paused after we put the flame out and acknowledged that this wasn't a scene we were inventing. this was an reenactment and it was one of the most authentic things in the whole movie.

>> while the film is full of real life drama it wouldn't be a true hollywood production without sex appeal and women will find a lot of it in chris hemsworth 's portrayal of james hunt .

>> really serious question now, chris hemsworth butt shot.

>> oh, that's very serious. i can tell that's very serious.

>> my wife said the sail thing.

>> what did you wife say?

>> i said what are you trying to tell me, huh?

>> the man is fit. what can i tell you? what better quicker way to get everybody, all the women in the audience on board than to go ahead and give them a look.

>> he is cute. and nicky is an amazing guy and still active in the formula one racing world and in life. she the father of three and a half year old twins and his old rival passed away of a heart attack . it hits theaters on september 27th .

>> i want to see that. it looks great. it really does.

>> and ron howard , one of the nicest people i ever met. just the way you would expect.