The son of a former Darlington football player will see part his life on the big screen in the new biopic film Gran Turismo that will hit cinemas on August 9.

Jann Mardenborough, son of former Darlington footballer Steve Mardenborough, will have his life in the fast lane hit cinemas this month in Gran Turismo, starring David Harbour and Archie Madekwe.

Jaan was born in Darlington in 1991 while his father was playing for the town's football club. The midfielder, who played more than 100 times for Darlington, is still a cult figure among die-hard fans for his part in helping the Quakers back into the football league.

The film tells of how Jann turned his love of video games into a career, with the 31-year-old now a professional racing driver in the Japanese Super GT series.

For most teenagers playing racing games in their bedroom, the idea of driving superpowered cars around a real-life race track is very much a fantasy.

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But for Jann Mardenborough, the dream of turning his driving skills on the Gran Turismo racing simulation game into a career on the world’s top circuits became a reality when he beat 90,000 other entrants to win gaming competition and reality show GT Academy at the age of 19.

The Northern Echo: Gran Turismo hits cinemas on August 9.

It’s a classic underdog story, but one that packs a punch. With roaring engines, explosive tempers, charismatic characters and fatal crashes, Mardenborough’s tale is ripe for the telling on the big screen.

“When it was pitched to me, it was called Gran Turismo, and I thought it was gonna be a movie about a bunch of people driving cars around a track over and over again for hours and hours,” says star David Harbour, of Stranger Things fame, who plays Jann’s initially-reluctant trainer Jack Salter in Gran Turismo.

“But then when I saw what they were doing, and how they were making it this real life story that just incorporated the game, and this kid had done this thing – I didn’t believe it at first, and then when you realise it’s real, it was incredible.”

Gran Turismo’s talented cast also features Orlando Bloom as Danny Moore, the Nissan marketing executive who has the absurd but brilliant idea to put console gamers behind the wheel of real GT cars, Geri Halliwell Horner – Spice Girl and wife of F1 boss Christian Horner – as Jann’s mum, and two-time Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou as his dad.

Playing the racing driver is Archie Madekwe, whose previous credits include the Florence Pugh-fronted Midsommar. But Madekwe wasn’t alone in comprehending how it would feel to go from bedroom gamer to racing star, because Mardenborough himself was on set as a stunt driver.

“Jann was just so open and gracious with his time, (and) just immediately became this pool of knowledge for me,” says Madekwe, 28.

“The real luxury we had was Jann being on set the entire time as our stunt driver. That was just unbelievable.

“Neill (Blomkamp, director) works in an incredible way where you do a scripted pass and an improvised pass, so if I ever wanted to root any of those improvisations in some facts or ground it in anything from Jann’s life, I could.

“And that is a blessing. It’s not something that you have all the time on set.”

Madekwe didn’t need to ask too many questions to understand how Mardenborough would have felt that first time he got behind the wheel of a race car, however. He was doing it for real on set.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” says the star of driving GT cars for the film.

“I left with so much admiration and respect for the sport and all the people that do it. Nothing can really prepare you for how physically taxing it is, for that amount of G force on your body, for the heat, for the claustrophobia. I vomited near enough every single day. I’d have to lie on the floor in a foetal position trying to just get back to some kind of sense of normality, because it’s hard.

“The way we shot it there was real realism to it, where I didn’t have loads of practice before, because my first time in the car was Jann’s first time in the car – we wanted to mimic that experience.

“When Jann got behind the wheel for the first time, he’d never done it before. And so we wanted that fear and that feeling, so that sense of fear and dread that you see in my face, that’s very real, there is really no acting required!”

Harbour, 48, who’s known for playing Jim Hopper in Stranger Things and was recently seen as Santa Claus in Violent Night, also had to get up close and personal with the powerful vehicles in his role playing Jann’s chief engineer.

He says that he hadn’t realised he’d be in the pit lane, changing tyres and working with real cars while drivers whizzed past at 200mph, but the experience brought a certain intensity which helped him as much as it terrified him.

“It was scary,” he says of being hands on with the cars.

“I’m not a big car guy. I mean, I do like a stick shift, there’s things that I like. But in terms of racing cars real fast, and the sound is really loud, and the smell of the rubber and the asphalt and the gasoline, it’s not my favourite thing.

The Northern Echo: Gran Turismo hits cinemas on August 9.

“There was a violence to it that gave me anxiety, which was good for the film, but it was difficult shooting.

“We were in Eastern Europe, I was away, far away from home, and I was going to a track every day, dealing with angry cars and angry stuff. So it’s a lot of fuel for work, but it was difficult to be in every day, be around.”

Jann and his trainer Jack develop a heart-warming relationship throughout the film, making the impossible possible and sticking with each other through the triumphs and the tragedies.

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“He’s a special kid. I sort of, you know, fell in love with him as we started working together,” says Harbour of working with Madekwe.

“It’s a funny dynamic: when I feel like things are going well I tend to stay away from the person off-screen more and more, so we just let the thing happen on screen. So I got to know him through the character and through the work.

“It was as moving as you see in the film, I think, is their relationship. It was very special. It didn’t need to be that way, I think, for the film to be good. But there was something that we were able to create together.”

Gran Turismo comes to UK cinemas on Wednesday August 9.