Stranger Things' David Harbour shifts gears in Gran Turismo movie's speedy first trailer

A race car driver looks directly into the camera in the Gran Turismo movie
The Gran Turismo movie races into theaters in August. (Image credit: PlayStation Productions)

The first trailer for Sony's Gran Turismo movie has arrived – and it already looks more fun than PlayStation Productions' first game-to-film adaptation, Uncharted.

Based on a true story, the Gran Turismo film's initial teaser, which you can view below, is understandably filled with adrenaline-fuelled drama, witty comedy courtesy of Stranger Things star David Harbour, and lots of high-octane action. As one of our most anticipated new movies of 2023, it's good to see that the racing-based movie doesn't look like it'll spin out when it arrives in theaters later this year.

Alright, so what's it about? The title Gran Turismo is synonymous with the racing sim series of the same name and, while the video game franchise has a large part to play in the movie's story, it's not an adaptation of a game series per se. Here's the official plot synopsis, courtesy of Sony Pictures:

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

Archie Madewke (Midsommer, Voyagers) stars as Mardenborough, the teenage gamer who wins a Nissan-sponsored competition to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional race driver. As the trailer shows, though, Mardenborough's fellow racers – including one of his main rivals, who's portrayed by The Wheel of Time's Josha Stradowski, don't take too kindly to a novice bursting onto the scene and trying to steal their thunder (or their trophies and cash prizes).

Understandably, Mardenborough won't be able to become a professional racer without the aid of those already involved in the business. Luckily for him, that's where The Lord of the Rings alumnus Orland Bloom – who plays motorsport marketing executive Danny Moore – and Harbour, who portrays retired racer Jack Salter, come into the picture. It's Bloom's Moore who sets the competition up and, once Mardenborough wins the chance to become a professional driver, Harbour's Salter is tasked with training him in his bid for glory.

Gran Turismo has been helmed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie). Along with Harbour, Bloom, Madewke, and Stradowski, it'll also star Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, Shazam! 2), Darren Barnet (Never Have I Ever), and former Spice Girls member Geri Halliwell.

Gran Turismo races into theaters on Friday, August 11.

Analysis: no longer Uncharted territory for Sony

Mark Wahlberg's Sully and Tom Holland's Nathan Drake look at something off-camera in Uncharted

Uncharted was PlayStation Studios' first venture into the filmmaking industry. (Image credit: Sony Pictures)

It's still early days in the life of PlayStation Productions, but the Sony subsidiary already has one big win and one sizeable dud among its two-strong roster of live-action adaptations.

The studio's Uncharted film performed well enough at the box office (it earned $401.7 million globally) following its February 2022 launch. However, the Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg-starring flick was critically panned upon release, with journalists and more casual cinephiles hitting out at its generic plot and action sequences, even if it was well cast. In our Uncharted movie review, we called it a "perfectly harmless adventure flick that meets the low bar set by its popcorn premise".

On the other hand, The Last of Us TV series, which aired on HBO Max between January 15 and March 12, was met with rave reviews and commercial success. 

Based on Naughty Dog's award-winning videogame franchise, the show of the same name quickly became one of the best HBO Max shows of all time (in our review of The Last of Us, we said it was an "imperfect but undeniably faithful adaptation of developer Naughty Dog’s era-defining PlayStation title"). So it's little wonder that it's been renewed for a second season, which is due to begin filming in late 2023/early 2024.

Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions will be hoping, then, that Gran Turismo is as warmly received as The Last of Us, rather than crashing into the racetrack tire-based barriers that Uncharted did. With three other movies, based on PlayStation games – Days Gone, Ghost of Tsushima, and Gravity Rush – in development, plus three TV shows – Peacock's Twisted Metal, Netflix's Horizon, and Prime Video's God of War – Sony and its PlayStation Productions sub-studio can ill afford to have another flop on its hands.

For more movie and gaming-related coverage, read our PlayStation 5 review or read more about Amazon's God of War TV show.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.