Brad Pitt F1 movie production halted due to writers’ strike

2023 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The production of the Hollywood movie set in Formula 1 starring Brad Pitt has been halted as a major actors union has begun strike action.

The untitled film based around the fictional ‘APX GP’ Formula 1 team and its drivers had a major presence at the last grand prix at Silverstone. The crew constructed their own garage in the pit lane and two show cars were placed on the back row of the dummy grid prior to the formation lap to allow the filming of scenes.

The movie is being produced by Lewis Hamilton’s production company, Dawn Apollo Films, with Hollywood actor Brad Pitt in the lead role of Sonny Hayes. However, production on the movie has reportedly shut down due to strike action by a major actors union.

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG–AFTRA) has recently commenced strike action with all member actors withdrawing labour, including Pitt, who is a member. The action has been called in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America union, which has been on strike since early May.

APX GP filming cars on-track, Silverstone, 2023
The film shot its first race weekend scenes at Silverstone
WGA members voted overwhelmingly to strike in May after failing to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Despite the increase in popularity of streaming services resulting in higher international audiences for many television shows and leading to increased production budgets, WGA claims its members have not seen the benefits. The proportion of members working for the minimum rate under WGA’s previous working agreement with the AMPTP has grown from a third to almost a half over the last decade.

The WGA strike action has also been endorsed and supported by United States president Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama, several members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, over 150 unions and professional bodies across the world, including the International Screenwriters Association, the players associations of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS and the Writers Guilds of both Great Britain and Ireland.

SAG-AFTRA, which represents over 100,000 actors, recording artists and other performers whose work is broadcast, has begun strike action after also failing to reach an agreement with the AMPTP, citing concerns over reduced income, royalties from streaming services and AI exploitation. Multiple major movie productions have been immediately affected by the strike. These include the as-yet untitled Formula 1 movie, the sequel to Gladiator and a new film in the Mission Impossible franchise, according to NBC News

The movie’s production crew was due to return to the F1 paddock at later races this year, but whether that happens may now rest upon the strike being resolved.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

30 comments on “Brad Pitt F1 movie production halted due to writers’ strike”

  1. Actor’s strike*

    The Writer’s strike they were already ignoring and just shooting without the writers present (which is bad enough as it is). But shooting without actor’s they can’t manage just quite yet.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      17th July 2023, 11:43

      While it is true that actors play a vital role in traditional filmmaking, advancements in AI technology have made it possible to create films even when actors are on strike. AI, such as deep learning algorithms and computer-generated imagery (CGI), can simulate human performances and generate realistic characters on screen.

      With AI, filmmakers can utilize techniques like motion capture, which involves recording the movements of real actors and transferring them to digital characters. This allows filmmakers to create lifelike performances without relying on physical actors. Additionally, AI algorithms can analyze existing footage and generate new scenes or dialogue, enabling the creation of new content even without the direct involvement of actors.

      AI-powered virtual actors have already been utilized in various films and TV shows. For example, in the Star Wars franchise, characters like Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia were recreated using CGI and AI to maintain continuity and tell compelling stories. These technologies have also been employed in video games, where virtual actors perform scripted scenes or respond to player interactions.

      While AI-generated performances may not completely replace the talent and creativity of human actors, they can provide a temporary solution during a strike or other unforeseen circumstances. However, it’s important to note that the use of AI in filmmaking is still evolving, and there are ongoing discussions and ethical considerations surrounding its impact on the entertainment industry and the future of acting.

      1. notagrumpyfan
        17th July 2023, 11:44

        PS the previous comment was created by ChatGPT ;)

        1. I was just going to say it was. AI is still too conspicuous as a writer, so I doubt it could “act” any better, especially when viewed on modern 8K screens etc. This is what people thought about CGI 25 years ago or so, and just look at some of those scenes now. Things are getting closer though, but people eventually always start paying more for “organic” products (real or not). I don’t care about those actors (not the most likeable human beings), but there are better ones outside Hollywood, and they are usually not promoting dangerous sects etc. (Pitt is, I suppose, one of the least weird ones coming from Tinseltown).

          1. It can’t Dex. In the Czech republic the national radio station just made a syntethic voice recording where famous singer Karel Gott (he died a few years ago) reads lines of his autobiography. They had to do HOURS of editing and splicing together parts of dozens of “takes” generated by AI fed with their whole recorded record of hours and hours of him talking to make it sound good (and thorough listeners will still note the edits) for every few seconds of it.

            It will take a while to make anything on the scale of a movie work well enough to sell for the big screen.

  2. Just use AI to write it and make it animated – what could go wrong :)

  3. Coventry Climax
    17th July 2023, 10:34

    Couldn’t care less about this.

    Besides, from what I’ve heard is to be the plot, they didn’t hire any real writers in the first place.
    And don’t get me started on that actor.

  4. Well I hope the screenplay was finished well before the shooting started.. It’s a bit mean to judge a movie we know little about, but I am gonna say this. Liberty and friends are hyping it beyond the succes of Drive to Survive – it’s gonna do even more for F1 (in what respect, who cares?) – and I feel that that is a bad omen. Have they read the script? Seen the storyboards and animatics?! Have they made successful Blockbusters movies before and know when a movie is gonna be great?? Usually it’s a really bad thing for companies like Liberty or sponsors to get involved in the creative process of making a movie – they have different ambitions and motivations. For example the sponsors on the APXGP car had names like Shark, Ninja and Expensify – while they completely non-offending, they are also general and unrealistic – I mean I understand it if this was the next Cars Movie for kids.. but if you are making a serious movie for grownups you would probably consider different names – unless you have a big organization in the background pulling on strings that want to sign off every detail and are playing it safe all they way.

    1. To clarify. They will have done the same thing with screenplay, casting and in a later stage editing etc.

    2. Facts&Stats
      17th July 2023, 11:59

      Liberty (Media Corporation) knows a thing or two about screen media (and promoting Sports).

      The fake brands (Shark, Ninja and Expensify) resonate more with me than Stake, Elysium, Hexis, Matrix, Buzz, XMTrading, ebb3, TriDouble, OGIO, Bitdefender, Gopuff, PartyCasino, TUMI, mCloud, Nuvei, Hexagon, Poly, and Rokt.

      PS I made up one of the ‘actual’ sponsors ;)

      1. Shark / Ninja is a real brand…it’s a vacuum cleaner kinda like a Dyson.

        You can have that fun fact for free… :)

    3. For example the sponsors on the APXGP car had names like Shark, Ninja and Expensify – while they completely non-offending, they are also general and unrealistic

      All real brands. Shark makes vaccuums. I personally own a Ninja Foodi Air Fryer, and Expensify offers Expense Management tooling for personal and business use.

      The movie is made by the people that made the latest Top Gun, which was highly rated by both critics and audiences. So I’m not sure why we should be particularly worried about this movie being well made, to be honest.

      1. Does that mean there will be vacuuming and air frying scenes in the movie?
        I could write them, for a suitable nine-figure fee, if nobody else is available.

        1. Who knows, maybe Sonny Hayes has to do some boring sponsor events or commercials in the movie. It would be accurate with the real world.

          I do expect any “at home” shots will have at least a Shark robot doing its thing in the background.

          1. Or if he gets the sack from the team, they can include a Wilson scene and Hayes and Shark become best friends forever.

      2. Oh my. Well I guess even more reason to worry. More sponsors, more companies involved that want to have a say. Unless of course the producers have been able to create a contract that excludes them from doing. No doubt the producers and director are great but I am just worried that the movie will become something like a 2 hour commercial instead of a great movie.

        1. Every film has product placement. You’re just inventing reasons to hate on this.

          1. Well no. Not every movie has product placement – actually most movies don’t have it. But I guess this is the best opportunity ever to do product placement well and I hope without sacrificing the story too much (but see my points before, I doubt that is gonna happen). Hate is a strong word – I am actually quite passionate about it, with Lewis being involved and all I thought it might be quite authentic and something to look forward to – and it might still be.

          2. Hmmmm, product placement. Ever notice the full camera shots of Coke and Red Bull on the cockpit sides while the cars are waiting between qualifying sessions?

      3. @sjaakfoo Indeed, the new Top Gun movie was well received. Yes, it’s rather basic movie that’s fun and easy to watch, it doesn’t really have much to do with the real work of the US Air Force, and it doesn’t do anything special with the plot or cinematography. But that’s totally fine. Not every movie needs to be super complex and worthy of study and analysis by film school students for decades to come.

        Not everyone will like what they make, but what they decide to make will probably be that way because they want it to be that way. These guys know what they’re doing.

        1. But why bother making another movie like that? Product placement galore for all I care. Milk the cash cow. Shark the Ninja. Mediocre Blockbuster on its way, blowing the chance of making something great. Oh well. Liberty will pat itself on the back during the shareholder meeting. Round of applause from the muppets.

        2. Scotty (@rockonscotty)
          18th July 2023, 0:58

          Small point. Top gun is Navy aviation

  5. I’m okay with hollywood ceasing to make movies. Their output has been quite bad lately and they probably could use a few years off. Why do we care if we miss out on the 28th marvel movie, a 6th Indian jones, and a 14th Star Wars?

    1. the 28th marvel movie

      @ryanoceros They’re way past 30 already. And that’s just counting their own stuff, not the 20th Century Fox ones.

      So long as people keep watching and buying, they’ll make more.

      1. Well I guess we get a temporary reprieve.

    2. We should care because this a test case for massively undermining labor in every industry. We should care because there is a lot more output than Blockbuster tentpole movies, and every one of those projects employs carpenters, electricians, and many other working class people. We should care because the median writer and actor salary is around $50K annually, and the average CEO makes $28+ MILLION, with slash and burn CEOs like Zaslav making north of $200 million. Not supporting striking writers and actors is cutting of your nose to spite your face, as these moves to replace and crush labor will effect virtually every industry on the planet.

      1. I don’t care. Hollywood will soon be a thing of the past and rightfully so.
        A bunch of arrogant elites.

  6. Electroball76
    17th July 2023, 22:19

    I’ll write it for them: champion racer sees it all fall apart, finds wise old mentor, looks within himself, training montage, starts the comeback, mentor dies, hero digs deep, defeats arch rival and wins the gold.
    Side characters: ‘disapointed son’, ‘stressed wife’, ‘downhome best friend’, ‘shady business dude’, ‘cheering crowd’.

  7. I liv chicken
    18th July 2023, 1:45

    If Bernie was still around, this movie would proceed. Therè’d be an “arrangement” between the unions and F1, and palms would be greased. A press conference would be arranged, where the unions would say they were wrong (misjudged)the situation, and not a word would be heard ever again.

  8. Before this announcement I didn’t believe in prayer. Thank you Lord (Hesketh).
    Why can’t “no ideas” Hollywood ever think of anything new to write and act about? Real life is millions of times better than the stereotypical drivel they have been making for 60 years!
    Re-Release “Grand Prix” and send Brad to the Pit!

Comments are closed.