Former Hollyoaks star Richard Cambridge talks about his upcoming role in summer blockbuster ‘Gran Turismo’ to play across cinemas this August

With no prior motorsport experience, now celebrated racing driver Jann Mardenborough received a once in a life time opportunity to hone in on his Gran Turismo no-how and gain the skills needed to pursue a successful racing career. Scoring a place on the coveted GT Academy/Nissan PlayStation GT Academy in 2011, and beating 90,000 other entrants to go on to win the competition, the tv show propelled Mardenborough into a fast paced world, resulting in him participating in the Dubai 24 Hour Race courtesy of Nissan. Since then, going from strength to strength having competed in various competitions since 2012 including British GT Championship, Blancpain Endurance Series, Toyota Racing Series, FIA European Formula Three Championship, 2014 GP3 Series, Super Formula Series and Super GT – where he scored a podium position in 2017. Dramatising the racing star’s inspirational story, Sony Pictures present summer blockbuster Gran Turismo this August at participating cinemas. Starring as one of the film’s mechanics, and with a cast including Orlando Bloom, Darren Barnet and David Harbour – ex-Hollyoaks star Richard Cambridge tells us more about his role as Felix, learning the skills needed to play a convincing mechanic and the arts led businesses he co-owns!

Hi Richard, you star in Sony Pictures Gran Turismo, which is due to be released in cinemas this August. How are you feeling ahead of the release?

Have you seen the trailer? It’s amazing, I can’t wait to see the film. We shot at some of the worlds top racing circuits, including the iconic RedBull ring in Austria. The film is going to look fantastic. Plus it’s all REAL. I’m excited.

Gran Turismo
is based on a true story of Jann Mardenborough, the film the ultimate wish fulfilment of a teenage Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan Competitions to become an actual professional race car driver. What drew you to want to take part in the film?
Anything by Neill Blomkamp I’m going to say yes to. Seriously though, I’m a car fan so this was like a dream come true. I used to talk with Neil during filming about our early cars growing up. I didn’t ever have a NISMO, but I wanted one – ITS ICONIC.
My instagram is full of car pictures. I grew up in the countryside and needed a car to get to my first job (I worked front of house at the Theatre Royal in Bath from when I was 16 selling ‘Choc &Progs’) I started when I was 16 and spent a year taking the train, which meant I had to wait around for at least 2 hours after the performances ended. So as soon as I turned 17, I spent all my money on a car, a doer-upper and caught the bug. A little later I was shooting a film in London in a studio in Golders Green – my first lead role. The studio owner’s son had blown the engine on a ‘hot hatch’, a supped up hatchback. I bought it, rented a tow truck and rebuilt the engine on my dad’s kitchen table. He wasn’t very amused. I’ve always had a love of cars and of course theatre and film!
You play Felix, a mechanic in the film. How did you prepare for the role?
The prep for this was awesome. I basically had to train as a formula one mechanic. Everything in this film is real. It’s based on a computer game, but that’s where it ends. The cars are real. The tyre changes are real. The cars really go 200mph. It’s insane.
I knew a bit about the F1 world already, and a little about LMP cars – but so not much about GT racing. They have only one tyre change person with the wheel gun for GT racing and it’s harder than you might imagine. There is a particular choreography that I had to learn carrying the wheels and the air gun is so powerful it could literally spin your arm off. My trainer was my partner on all the changes when we did it for real on camera and they trusted me. We filmed in the snow and in the 40 degree heat, and that was my only wobble. At one location when I was changing the tyres at full pelt wearing full fire safety gear the heat is difficult to manage. Costume ran over with water and looked after me. The guys that do it professionally are amazing.
The film stars Hollywood actors Orlando Bloom, Darren Barnet, David Harbour, Geri Halliwell and Djimon Hounsou amongst others. Is based on a screenplay by Jason Hall and Zach Baylin and is directed by Neill Blomkamp. How have you all worked together to realise the final product?
This was a team effort. My scenes were all with David Harbour as I was part of the Nissan Racing team where Jann joins as a driver.

What have you learned/taken away from taking part in the project?
I can now change a tyre in under 3 seconds!!
Being involved had made me want to up my game. Being part of a production with some of the biggest stars and working with one of the best directors on the in the world, and realising these are real people just doing a job is inspiring.

You’ve been in the entertainment industry for two decades now, which has seen you star in TV favourites ‘Hollyoaks’ in the 90s and the ‘IT Crowd’ in the 00s. The Sundance short film ‘The Fishmonger’s Daughter’ having kick started your career. You’re also the Co-founder of the actors’ community WeAudition – a website offering coaching and mentorship within the industry – Hollywood’s go to self tape reader on demand network providing actors with opportunities to earn money by serving as scene partners and assisting fellow actors in their self-tape audition process. How have you navigated running your own projects as well as sustaining a successful acting career?

All actors have some sort of day job, and I”m very lucky that mine is the actors community website and app WeAudition which I’m proud of. WeAudition is a community of self tape readers on demand, and also lets performers earn money being a reader for others. I have a sustained passion for both acting, filmmaking and entrepreneurship. I have always believed in slow and steady steps towards success and I like to stay flexible with my commitments. I’m a big believer in keeping my mental health strong and I champion journaling as it has really helped me personally. I attribute a lot of my latest wins to this. I make sure to allocate dedicated time for auditions, rehearsals, and performances when they come up, while also day to day work on WeAudition.

Networking and collaboration have also played a significant role in the last few years, attending some of the biggest film festivals in the world like Sundance and Cannes. Building relationships within the industry, both as an actor and an entrepreneur, has opened doors to new opportunities and collaborations. By working with like-minded individuals, I can combine my passion for acting with my desire to create our innovative platform and features that benefit the acting community.

Staying adaptable and open to new challenges has been crucial. The entertainment industry is ever-evolving, and being able to embrace change and take on roles like Felix in Gran Turismo, whilst still allowing me to support other actors through is a privilege.
What can audiences expect from the film?
Gran Turismo will be a roller coaster, but also has heart. Go see this film in the cinema where it belongs. I’m expecting the sound to be all encompassing, the story to take you on an emotional journey and the cars to blow you away. This is real racing, real actors in cars going 200mph. It’s going to be awesome.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Gran Turismo will play in participating cinemas from August. Watch the trailer here…
Written by Theatrefullstop