Gran Turismo’s David Harbour Reveals How a Bad Review Helped His Career

Gran Turismo is hitting theaters everywhere next week, and the movie is based on the true story of gamer-turned-driver Jann Mardenborough. The film features Stranger Things star David Harbour as a failed former driver named Jack Salter. Before the SAG strike, Harbour had a chat with‘s Brandon Davis and was asked if there are any stories from his past that helped him portray a character who gave up on his dreams.

“Yeah, I mean, you know, initially when I was in New York, one of my breaks was when I was 26, I think,” Harbour shared. “I was in a Broadway show, like one of my first leads in a Broadway show. Big, romantic lead. And you know, it was back when the New York Times review would come out the morning of after the opening at 5 AM, and I rushed out to get it. And I remember Ben Brantley was chief critic of the New York Times, 5 AM, and it was, ‘The play is brilliant. It’s incredible. Tom Stopper play. Everyone is great. The only weak link is David Harbor, who’s not a good actor.'”

Harbour continued, “My first thing and I was like, ‘Wow.’ And I remember being so like, you know, I mean, just the pit of my stomach hit the floor. And I did have this moment where I thought, ‘Well, even if you guys don’t like me, you’re gonna have to get used to me, because I’m sticking around.’ And that’s the feeling I think that separates Jann from Jack. Jack’s the guy who really reads that review and really takes it and Jann is the guy who goes, ‘Well, I’m getting back in the car.’ There’s two types of people sort of in the world … But it is in those moments of real tragedy where it really hurts, where you gotta figure out who you are.”

What Is Gran Turismo About?

“Gran Turismo is based on the unbelievable true story of a team of unlikely underdogs – a struggling working-class gamer (Archie Madekwe), a failed former racecar driver (David Harbour), and an idealistic motorsport executive (Orlando Bloom). Together, they risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world. Gran Turismo is an inspiring, thrilling, and action-packed story that proves that nothing is impossible when you’re fueled from within.”

Gran Turismo hits theaters on August 25th.

Editor’s note: This interview was conducted prior to the SAG actors’ strike.