While sports film are constantly being made, few have tackled the world of NASCAR. Only a handful come to mind when prompted: 1990s Days of Thunder, 1973s The Last American Hero, 1968s Speedway starring Elvis Presley, and Cars. Of course, the one most people of a certain age immediately think about is Talladega Nights, directed by newly-minted Academy Award nominee Adam McKay (The Big Short). But now, it appears another film will be joining this small club of America’s number one spectator sport.
According to Variety, MGM is developing a film on the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. In realizing this project, the studio is collaborating with Robert Munic, the co-executive producer of the hit show Empire. Munic will write the script to the as-of-yet untitled film.
Variety also reports that MGM president of television Mark Burnett and Roma Downey approached the film division with the project. The two had been developing a television series focused on the sport, so it’s interesting that they are now turning the idea into a film, which variety says “never came into fruition.” One reason for this could be that such a show may not have much longevity, either due to story ideas, audience interest, or simply financial reasons. It is probably very expensive to own and operate race cars, as well as film on tracks and handle all the safety precautions necessary. So perhaps turning that idea into a much more financially viable film makes sense. It could also afford the opportunity to test the idea, see if there is an audience, and then take that success and turn it into a show.
The report states that NASCAR will be involved in the project as it develops, with the only hint of a plot being “set in the world of NASCAR.”
While focused on Formula 1/stock car racing rather than NASCAR, the recent films of Senna and Rush both did well with critics and had respectable audience interest. And NASCAR continues to draw great numbers in attendance, so a film on the sport, while rare, does make a lot of sense. Let’s just hope Ricky Bobby makes a cameo.