From Goodbye Lenin! to Inglourious Basterds, Daniel Brühl is busy carving himself a niche as Hollywood’s go-to German actor, so it’s no wonder Ron Howard came calling when he needed someone to play Niki Lauda in his new movie Rush.
What was the attraction to this movie? Are you an F1 fan, or was it the story?
“Both. I was a fan when I was a kid and then although I’m German I got a bit bored of Schumacher winning all the time... But then I became very interested again when I got the script. And also when I watched the Senna documentary. My interest and my fascination were reborn.”
You got to meet Niki Lauder too: how was that?
“We got on really well. The first time we spoke on the phone, he was so frank – he wanted to meet in Vienna but said: ‘Just bring hand luggage’, in case he didn’t like me and wanted to send me home. But we liked each other from the first moment.
Is there a lot of pressure on you to faithfully represent him?
“Yeah, of course. It’s weird – normally if you play real characters, they’re dead. So on the one hand it was a bit scary to play someone who is so special and so famous and so different from me, but on the other hand it turned out to be perfect because he’s the best source of information to play a real character. He called me really early the other day [to say] he’s seen some of the footage we’ve shot so far and he was really happy with my performance, so that was a big relief.”
Rush is released on 13 September.