FORD’s latest pony car proves itself as a noble steed in “Need For Speed,” a new movie based on the popular videogame franchise of the same title, or NFS.
Seven modified 2014 Ford Mustangs, built for filming and promotion, were used by director Scott Waugh in the movie. But an additional early prototype 2015 Mustang fastback, also made an appearance at the flick’s end, serving as a teaser for the showroom arrival of the latest pony car.
The film revolves around protagonist Tobey Marshall’s quest to cross America in a modified 2014 Mustang GT as he seeks justice for his fellow racer Pete, after the latter died in a race.
One could say it’s “Twilight” for gearheads.
But rather than getting hooked on the characters, NFS draws viewers toward the cars. Out of the seven wide-body Mustangs, three survived the filming process, two are on tour for promotion, while the other will be auctioned for charity on April 12.
Waugh made the movie more realistic by using genuine—rather than computer generated—car-to-car action.
A former stuntman, Waugh said that the “instinctive experience of the performance,” along with the presence of the ‘Stang, naturally turned the car into the hero.
The goal of the director was to “tell a character-driven story steeped in car culture that gives the audience a genuine perspective of what it’s like to drive at high speeds and in close proximity to other cars.”
“My philosophy has always been; ‘you can’t break physics.’ If you do, it hurts the story, because then the physics don’t apply to the characters either,” Waugh said.
“Doing practical stunts with cars takes more up-front preparation to set up the shots and ensure safety, but the end result is worth it,” he added.
A new style of filming cars—first appearing in 1966 with “Grand Prix,” followed by “Bullitt” in 1968, then continued through the ’70s—included methods like mounting cameras on and inside the vehicle. Waugh and director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, used many of the same techniques in NFS, marrying it with the latest camera technology.
More than 40 different digital cameras—from compact action cams to high-end cinema cameras—were used to capture images.
“It’s really complicated to shoot in a car. You’re so confined. So we made sure all the camera angles would convince the audience the actors were really driving,” Waugh said.
Further, three different camera cars—including a supercharged Mustang GT—were used to get the close-in action shots that provide the sensation of speed to viewers. The combination of different cameras gave Waugh and Hurlbut the flexibility to shoot more angles of the action to capture the visceral experience of driving.
Besides the stunt performers, the cast themselves—like lead actors Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots—underwent intensive training at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park in California to learn how to safely handle the high-powered vehicles. They were taught how to drift around corners and to hit precise marks while driving.
The movie has tapped the expertise of champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr., who was used in the sequences that involved driving the 2015 Mustang that appeared in the film.
The 2015 Ford Mustang, which simultaneously debuted in six major cities across the world in December last year, features a sleek new design in which the signature Mustang fastback and convertible shape is backed up by world-class performance coming from a range of available engines. It is the most advanced version of the iconic pony car yet.
The newest ‘Stang is available with a new turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and an upgraded 5.0-liter V8 that makes more than 420 horsepower.
The car also has advanced connectivity and driver-assist systems, track apps and launch control, among others.