Jann Mardenborough was involved in a crash at Germany's VLN Endurance Championship in 2015 that resulted in a spectator's death
Jann Mardenborough felt strongly that the Gran Turismo movie include his 2015 crash that killed a spectator during a race in Germany.
Gran Turismo stars Archie Madekwe (Midsommar) as Mardenborough, now 31. The film traces the British athlete's real-life path toward racing stardom, which started as he used his skills learned from the Gran Turismo video games to transfer to real-life racing at Nissan and Sony's GT Academy.
Part of Mardenborough's story includes a fatal 2015 accident that happened while he competed at the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring racing complex. His vehicle took flight and crashed through a fence separating the track from spectators; multiple spectators were injured and one died, according to a BBC News report at the time.
Mardenborough told Driving.co.uk that he felt "it would have been a disservice for the audience" to not include a depiction of the accident.
“It’s my life. It’s part of my story,” he said. “I made sure all of us that were with the production — the producers, [screenwriter Jason Hall] — that that was how it went down. Because it needed to be correct, because somebody lost their life in this accident. And the movie does a great job of that."
“It shows, as well, the deep dark moments of my life when I was in the hospital by myself," Mardenborough said. "You know, the mental aspects to such an event, and in life as well: what can happen, how you can get out of that, how can you rebound and achieve something — achieve greatness — off the back of that."
"So it had to be in there," he said.
Gran Turismo's narrative places the accident at a different point in Mardenborough's career. The film portrays it as happening in Mardenborough's first professional race after signing a contract with Nissan; in reality, the 2015 crash happened more than three years after his pro career began.
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Mardenborough recently discussed the incident during an appearance on the radio show The Breakfast Club. He said the film's depiction of the crash "technically [shows] exactly how it happened."
“Once I got asked [to participate in the movie] it would have been easier just to say, ‘No, I don’t want that in there,' " he said. "But I’m doing everyone else a disservice, because if that wasn’t in there, the storyline’s very linear. It [would not be] true."
"It’s not easy. With the Nurburgring in particular, I’m very happy with the way it’s done," he added on Breakfast Club. "Sony and I were aligned on that it needs to be correct because of the situation what happened. Somebody lost their life in that accident, so technically it’s exactly how it happened and also emotionally in those scenes afterwards, that’s what it was like. It’s dark.”
The athlete also recently told the U.K.'s Daily Express that including the scene in the film "shows that progression in one’s life and career isn’t linear."
“It’s never a straight line, there’s peaks and troughs," he told the outlet. "And it’s how you deal with those that determine whether you’re destined for some greatness or not. It’s how you deal with the dark times."
Along with Madekwe, the film's cast includes Orlando Bloom, David Harbour, Djimon Hounsou and Geri Halliwel Horner.
Gran Turismo is in theaters Friday.
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