Gran Turismo: Cast, reviews and plot as film speeds into cinemas

District 9’s Neill Blomkamp swaps sci-fi for sports cars

Archie Madekwe in Gran Turismo. (Sony Pictures)
Archie Madekwe in Gran Turismo. (Sony Pictures)

Move over Mattel: PlayStation Pictures is the latest IP-owner to bring their much-loved brands to the big screen and next up they’re focusing on racing simulator Gran Turismo.

First released on PlayStation's original console back in 1997, Gran Turismo has gone on to become one of the most popular racing game franchises of recent years. Multiple Gran Turismo game sequels later and Neill Blomkamp, director of modern sci-fi classics like District 9 and Chappie and operator of CGI playground Oats Studios, is bringing this title to the big screen.

If you’re wondering how a racing game can be compelling enough to convince you to part with your precious time then you’ll be glad to know that Blomkamp’s movie has an interesting real-life twist.

Read more: Gran Turismo: The remarkable true story behind the movie

If that piqued your interest enough to get your brain in gear, read on to learn everything we know about the Gran Turismo movie, including its plot, release date, trailers and more.

Gran Turismo release date

The wait is officially over: Gran Turismo is out now. The racing film sped into UK cinemas on Friday, 11 August.

Gran Turismo reviews

Gran Turismo (Sony)
The Gran Turismo movie is based on a true story. (Sony)

The reviews for Gran Turismo are in and so far, it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Digital Spy explained that fans of the video game series will be pleased, as would newcomers, calling it a "rousing underdog sports movie more than a video-game adaptation." However, The Independent was quick to highlight its product placement sensibilities.

Elsewhere, The Guardian had similar thoughts, suggesting that "commerce contaminates the whole endeavour" while The Telegraph didn't pull its punches at all, calling the movie "a purringly complacent insult to a great video-game" right in its review title.

Read our full review round-up below.

Digital Spy: Gran Turismo is a traditional underdog tale boosted by excellent racing (3-min read)

The Independent: A glorified PowerPoint presentation for Nissan and PlayStation (3-min read)

The Guardian: Gamer turns racer in super-bland ode to product placement (2-min read)

The Telegraph: A purringly complacent insult to a great video-game (3-min read)

Total Film: "A fun if formulaic thrill-ride" (2-min read)

Gran Turismo plot

Gran Turismo (Sony)
Gran Turismo is the latest movie adaptation from PlayStation Pictures. (Sony)

The Gran Turismo series is known for its accurate simulation of real life racing, but not for its compelling narrative.

In bringing the series to life, PlayStation Pictures has given the movie a meta-tweak, blending it with the remarkable journey of Jann Mardenborough. As a teenager, the Darlington-born Mardenborough was obsessed with playing the Gran Turismo games and went on to win a number of Nissan-sponsored competitions.

2015 GP3 Series Round 7..Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia.Sunday 11 October 2015..Jann Mardenborough, (GBR, Carlin)    (Photo by Sam Bloxham/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
The real Jann Mardenborough competing in GP3 in 2015. (Sam Bloxham/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Behind the scenes, Mardenborough secretly harboured a desire to turn his passion into a real-life profession. As it turns out, that’s exactly what he did — going on to defy the odds and use his Gran Turismo gaming skills to become a fully-fledged professional racing driver.

It’s this story that Blomkamp is bringing to audiences, mining the unlikeliness of Mardenborough’s journey and splicing it with some edge-of-your-seat racing sequences, starry names and cutting-edge graphics to heighten the storytelling.

Gran Turismo cast

Gran Turismo (Sony)
Gran Turismo. (Sony)

Playing Mardenborough is Archie Madekwe, a name you’ll likely recognise from Ari Aster’s Midsommar and Apple TV’s series See. He’s flanked by Stranger Things star David Harbour who plays his racing trainer Jack Salter, a figure who’s at first sceptical at this young gamer’s dreams to become a real-life driver — but who soon gets proven wrong.

Joining them is Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom who plays Danny Moore, the motorsports marketing man who spots an unexpected and crowd-pleasing story in Mardenborough’s dreams of swapping his console for a real-life racetrack.

Gran Turismo (Sony)
Orlando Bloom in Gran Turismo. (Sony)

Bloom’s role is reportedly based in part on GT Academy founder Darren Cox.

Rounding out Blomkamp’s cast is Gladiator star Djimon Hounsou as Mardenborough’s dad and Spice Girl Geri Halliwell Horner as his mum. Never Have I Ever cast member Darren Barnet also appears as another professional driver who feels threatened by Mardenborough’s sudden appearance in the cockpit.

Gran Turismo trailer

As the movie’s release date gets closer, Gran Turismo’s second trailer doubled down on the themes established in its adrenalin-pumping first look, this time with even more burnt-rubber action.

We also get a deeper look into the self-doubt plaguing Mardenborough’s journey — something that ultimately becomes the fuel that helps him achieve his goals.

With Gran Turismo’s first full trailer, Blomkamp invited viewers into the high-octane world of professional racing where we meet a young gamer with a lofty dream.

As Harbour’s racer-training pro Salter initially casts doubt on Bloom’s character’s vision of transforming this console king into a main player, we slowly see Mardenborough prove everyone wrong.

Gran Turismo is out in UK cinemas now