Speeding into theatres this weekend is Ron Howard’s Rush. Telling the story of one of sports’ greatest rivalries, that between F1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, the film premiered to excellent reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival and now its getting ready to head into its wide release.
During the festival, we were lucky enough to catch up with star Olivia Wilde for a roundtable interview. In the film she plays supermodel Suzy Miller, who was married to Hunt for a little over a year, until she left him for actor Richard Burton.
Throughout the course of the interview, Wilde spoke about the wardrobe that she got to wear, whether or not she had any knowledge of James Hunt before joining the film, how she prepared for the role and more.
Check it out below and enjoy!
Do you speed when you drive?
Olivia Wilde: Nothing makes me more angry than slow drivers, nothing [laughs]. When I’m stuck behind them I feel nothing but pure, unfiltered rage. So yes, I like to go fast. I’m not dangerous, I just understand when it’s possible and save to drive fast and I take advantage of that.
Did you have any knowledge of James Hunt and Niki Lauda before you got involved in the film?
Olivia Wilde: No. I knew nothing about F1 or these two drivers. If you had told me it was a fictional story I probably would have believed you because it’s just so crazy and over the top. The fact that Hunt was unbelievably gorgeous and unbelievably talented and charming and magnetic, it’s almost like he’s a fictional character. And then you have Lauda, who is the complete opposite and becomes Hunt’s arch-rival and suffers this horrible crash but overcomes it so quickly. It’s just an unbelievable story. It sounds so Hollywood but it’s real.
What do you think made James and your character, Suzy Miller, such a good match in the beginning?
Olivia Wilde: James’ excess really represented what was exciting about the 1970s. It was a time when sex was safe and driving was dangerous, to quote Ron Howard. James just represented that. There was something so bold about his way of living and Suzy was quite similar. That’s why they were drawn to each other. She was kind of his match. She isn’t naive, she knows what she’s getting into and she accepts the challenge. She clearly wasn’t afraid of a challenge either, since she went from James Hunt to Richard Burton. She knew a lot about James and knew what he was, but the romantic notion of him proposing to her so quickly kind of won her over. And I think that she believed that they had a shot. She was charmed by his wit and intelligence. It didn’t matter to her that he was famous or a race car driver or that he was rich. It was about the way that he approached her so fearlessly.
Were you surprised that this was such a meaty role for a woman considering that the film is loaded with testosterone?
Olivia Wilde: Not when I knew Peter Morgan was writing it, because he has a lot of respect for women in his films. Even if it’s a small role, it’s an interesting one. I really loved what Suzy’s purpose was in the story. For this story, what was important to me was that we show this other side of James. We needed to show his romantic side and his darkness. It’s very important to show that when he wasn’t in front of the cameras, he was a very sad person. He was dealing with demons and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol which made it impossible for Suzy to stick around. She wasn’t a long suffering victim. She had enough self-respect to get out when it was unbearable but I think in this story it was important to show what James was like behind close doors. The romantic side of me believes that before their downfall, they had a loving relationship.