Though his name may not be super familiar here in the United States, Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna is a legend around the world. The Brazilian made a name for himself as one of the greatest F1 drivers to have ever raced, with an all-too-short career spanning nearly a decade. Sadly, Senna was killed in a crash in 1994 during the San Marino Grand Prix. His life was chronicled in Asif Kapadia’s excellent 2010 documentary Senna (currently available on Netflix Instant Watch), and rumors have been swirling that a biopic of the racer could be on its way soon.
Steve recently got the chance to sit down with actor Rodrigo Santoro at the press day for What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and he asked Santoro about the rumors that he might portray Senna in a feature film. Santoro confirmed that, though nothing is official, “talks are going on” and elaborated a bit on how the project’s development is coming along and what a huge undertaking it would be to portray the racing legend. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
“No, I have not signed on. It’s just rumor right now. [But] I keep saying that this rumor has [merit]… There are some talks going on.”
Though he hasn’t officially joined the project, Santoro confirmed that a script is currently being developed:
“Yes, they’re working on [the script]… There is something already, like a structure. They’re trying to figure out how they’re going to do this. It’s a real big, big project, that’s why. For Brazil, it’s the biggest one.”
The actor is very much aware of just how much Senna means to the people of Brazil, and elaborated on just how cautiously they’re approaching the film:
“I mean, he’s a hero. In Brazil, he’s…’huge’ wouldn’t describe it. He’s a hero, like a true hero. It’s a very delicate matter; I’ve been very careful [with] how we’re going to approach that. If we get this done, if we really move forward with this project, it will be with the family, with his family, it will all be done in a very, very careful and respectful way. So yeah that might be possible in the future. Right now, we’re still in conversations, but it is moving.”
Santoro went on to mention that the key to the whole project is finding the right director and behind-the-scenes team to bring Senna’s life to the screen. It certainly sounds like he’s very serious about doing Senna justice, and if Santoro remains involved I definitely feel like the film will be in good hands. The biopic is most likely still a few years away (if it ever comes to fruition), but it’s nice to know that it’s being developed with a great deal of respect and caution.
Watch the portion of the interview where Santoro talks about Senna below followed by a transcript of the conversation. Look for the full interview closer to the release of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
Rodrigo Santoro: Oh, they are saying that, huh?
So I’m curious, because I love his story and his life and I’ve seen the documentary (Senna). So, for people who understand this, have you signed on for this project?
Santoro: No, I have not signed on. It’s just rumor right now. I keep saying that this rumor has…
Santoro: Yes. There are some talks going on.
I’ve got to be honest with you, you do look…there’s a lot of physical resemblance.
Santoro: Yeah. I mean, he’s a hero. In Brazil, he’s…”huge” wouldn’t describe it. He’s a hero, like a true hero. It’s a very delicate matter; I’ve been very careful [with] how we’re going to approach that. If we get this done, if we really move forward with this project, it will be with the family, with his family, it will all be done in a very, very careful and respectful way. So yeah that might be possible in the future. Right now, we’re still in conversations, but it is moving.
Santoro: Yes, they’re working on it. We had a…I’m talking too much [laughs], because you’re cool and I’m like, “Oh I’m having a good time with my buddy here.” I can’t say much, I’m sorry, I just can’t say much. There is something already, like a structure. They’re trying to figure out how they’re going to do this. It’s a real big, big project, that’s why. For Brazil, it’s the biggest one.
I was going to say, for all racecar fans, it’s a huge project. I mean it sincerely, I just watched the documentary recently again…
Santoro: Oh, you did?
Santoro: And it’s an honor. If this whole thing goes forward it will be amazing. Right now we have nothing official, nothing to…I cannot say much because there’s nothing really there yet. We’ll see. If it’s meant to happen, it will.
I’ve got to wrap with you but I really hope that you have a good director and a good everything.
Santoro: That is the whole point, to find the right people to do this, because it’s actually an international project. He was always all over the place, in Europe, mainly.
He’s a rockstar in Japan, too.
Santoro: There ya go. And in Europe. I think America doesn’t have a lot of knowledge on his story. I don’t know how big Formula 1 is here.
There are fans, but it’s way bigger in Brazil, way bigger in Europe. Ultimately, I’d imagine there’s a lot of money on the line and I’d imagine there are a lot of financers who are willing to do this if the script is right and the director is right.
Santoro: That’s the whole thing. Let’s see. Let’s wait to see what’s going to be next.
Finally, for those that never saw the great documentary on Senna, here’s the trailer: