Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

James Hunt's son admits film doubts

Tom Hunt has given his verdict on Rush, Ron Howard's film about his father James Hunt

A son of ex-Formula 1 world champion James Hunt has admitted "alarm bells started to ring" when he first learned of plans to make a Hollywood film about his father.

Rush, directed by Ron Howard, stars Thor's Chris Hemsworth as James and Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda. The film depicts the fierce rivalry that existed between the pair on the race track in the 1970s.

Speaking about the film, Tom Hunt, 27, admitted: "Obviously there were nerves because, over the years, the tabloids particularly have tended to focus on certain areas of dad's characteristics which we all know were a big part of him.

"But because it was a Hollywood film, alarm bells start to ring. There was a bit of nervousness about it, but two of my uncles sat down with the scriptwriters and there were a couple of long conversations. I went on their judgment. They were very happy that these guys were going to do as good a job as any and really try to tell the true story rather than it just be about the party lifestyle and all that kind of stuff."

Rush features the battle for supremacy between the pair and James' famous World Championship triumph in 1976 when he clinched the title from Austrian-born Niki Lauda by a single point in Japan. It was in that same year, regarded as one of the most dramatic seasons in F1 history, that three-times F1 champion Lauda suffered appalling burns in a death-defying crash at the Nurburgring.

And Tom's mind has been put at rest after seeing the film.

He said: "It's brilliant. I think it's going to be really popular, and I'm really excited to see how the public receive it."

Nicknamed "Hunt the Shunt", James was famous for his playboy antics, with comparisons drawn between him and the late Manchester United footballer George Best.

He famously had the phrase "Sex, breakfast of champions" sewn on to his racing overalls. And his womanising made for colourful reading, with reports he had slept with more than 5,000 women. An exuberant character who would turn up barefoot at black-tie events, he died in 1993 following a heart attack.

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