Close-Up: An Interview With Gran Turismo Star Richard Cambridge

Richard Cambridge (Hollyoaks, The IT Crowd) joins us to chat about his role in the highly anticipated Sony Pictures blockbuster, Gran Turismo, set to hit cinemas and IMAX screens in August.

Based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough, the film is the ultimate wish fulfilment of a teenage Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan competitions to become an actual professional racecar driver.

You have had a varied and interesting career going from Hollyoaks to the blockbuster Gran Turismo. Do you have a favourite medium to work in and what so far has been your favourite role?

I love film I’ve always loved the camera and how we create a story and invoke emotion though the lens. I love a set, the whole getting up early and going through the scene of the day, the technology the craft and the non linear process. Have the opportunity to be part of a huge studio movie with the high production value, the epic locations and sets, and with Gran Turismo, some of the fastest cars in the world is a little boy’s dream come true for me. 

For your new film Gran Turismo, you had to change tires in under 3 minutes. How long did this take to learn?

Yes, for this new role as Felix in Gran Turismo I trained to be a pit shop mechanic for GT cars. 

I can I change a wheel in about three seconds so if you break down – you know who to call! I actually trained with a professional mechanic called Szilard at the Nurburgring in Germany, and learned all about the different types of cars and the different pit stops that they have to make. With GT, unlike Formula 1 – two people change ALL the tires rather than a crew. There’s a very specific way and choreography to how the tires changed. With Le Mans Prototype cars, which we can see in the trailer of Gran Turismo and on the poster there’s two teams of two. I’d only be changing one side of the car, two wheels – and that particularly, is a very fast change. Those tyres are heavy and much wider and more difficult to get off. It’s also dangerous changing these wheels. The aim is to take the nut off and put it on with the new wheel, and if you don’t do it right there’s a very dangerous situation with a nut coming off and whizzing its way down the pit lane! 

I trained for quite a long time to do it, and I was lucky enough for the professionals to say that I passed assessment and was able to change the tires on camera. I also did it in between takes as well since I was there and the guy with the gun – it was always nice to have a little bit of extra practice. I now have a newfound appreciation for the work and the scale of the responsibility of the people in a racing team.

What can you tell us about your role as Felix in this new block buster?

The movie is a true story about Jann Mardenborough, who was a gamer and become a real racing driver. David Harbour from Stranger Things and Orlando Bloom play key roles in his training and joining team Nissan. I’m one of the crew there. 

When you were offered the role as Felix your wife was due to have a baby, did you consider not taking the role because of this reason and the big question is, did you make the birth?

I made it home! My wife Hermione was crossing her legs. When I was offered the role Hermione was 8 months pregnant, and filming was going to be for 6 weeks with travel to some of the biggest race tracks in the world. We had a family chat about the logistics. Hermione was fantastic (she always is) Production were great. I was actually filming in Austria up until a week before the birth, as you can see from the trailer we filmed at the Red Bull Ring and then I flew home. We had our little baby girl and then I did have to go back and do one extra week of filming to complete my role. It actually couldn’t have worked out better and I’m really thankful. 

If you could emulate any actors career, who would it be and why?

There’s an enchanting quality to the classic movie stars like Cary Grant that we won’t find in today’s world. We’re living in a different era now, which makes that magic impossible to replicate. While I’ve had the opportunity to spend time and converse with present-day stars, I hold great admiration for actors I have been working like Orlando Bloom and the incredible journey he’s undertaken.

Equally, I deeply respect actors who have taken the initiative to produce their own projects, like the talented Ben Affleck and the influential George Clooney, who maintains a strong moral compass and a family life away from the limelight. Moreover, it’s hard not to be impressed by the enduring star power and longevity of actors like Tom Cruise, who continues to captivate audiences and perform daring stunts. Witnessing him receive an honorary palm d’or at Cannes last year for his exceptional body of work was truly well-deserved.

Leave a Reply