Neill Blomkamp to direct Gran Turismo movie, based on the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy

It’s no secret that Sony wants to transform its video game franchises into movies, now details on one such project have come out. Neill Blomkamp will direct the upcoming Gran Turismo movie, which looks to be a biopic based on the GT Academy program.

Neill Blomkamp previously worked on films such as District 9, Elysium and Chappy. The Gran Turismo movie represents his first video game adaptation after the aborted Halo project with Microsoft and Peter Jackson. Joining him will be Jason Hall, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter behind American Sniper.

As for the movie’s plot, Deadline report hints that it will be based on Sony’s GT Academy program. “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,” the report states.

What is the GT Academy?

Established in 2008, the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy—or GT Academy for short—was an international virtual-to-reality contest that allowed Gran Turismo players the chance to become real racecar drivers.

The contest comprised multiple phases, with players starting by racing virtually in-game, progressing to a “National Finals.” The winners from each regional would then compete in actual Nissan race cars at “Race Camp” at the Silverstone Circuit in the UK.

The eventual winners would be rewarded a place in Nissan’s Driver Development Program as well as an entry into an international race or race series with the company.

Originally run only across Europe, the series soon grew to include separate competitions for various regions around the world.

Which driver will the movie focus on?

While the series ended in 2016, the GT Academy produced its fair share of racing drivers, some of which have gone on to achieve a fair amount of success in real motorsports. It’s likely from these that the story of the Neill Blomkamp directed Gran Turismo movie will be based on.

GT Academy winners, such as Lucase Ordoñex, Jann Mardenborough, Jordan Tresson, Wolfgang Reip and Nicolas Hammann have successfully competed in various motorsports such as the Blancpain Endurance Series, FIA GT Series, Super GT, Formula 3, NASCAR and even the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Of these, perhaps the most compelling to turn into the subject for the film would be Lucas Ordoñez. Ordoñez won the first season of the GT Academy and overcame many doubters by transitioning that win to a relatively successful motor racing career—securing two race wins in his first year of racing with Nissan at the 2009 season of the GT4 European Cup. (Read: Sony is making it up to players with FREE Gran Turismo 7 credits)

He later found relative success racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011. Here, his team came second in the LMP2 class and 9th overall in the race.

Furthermore, he still retains close links to Sony and Gran Turismo. He appears in Gran Turismo 7 as one of the instructors and AI drivers players race against in the game’s single-player mode.

Of course, this is assuming that the Neill Blomkamp helmed Gran Turismo movie will feature an actual GT Academy winner. It’s also possible that they’ll go with a fictional version of the Academy starring a fictional lead. For more on this and other news related to the Gran Turismo movie and Sony’s other game-to-film projects, be sure to watch this space.

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Franz Co

managing editor | addicted to RGB | plays too many fighting games

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