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Movie Fact #310 - October 19th, 2021


The 2005 New Zealand biographical sports drama film The World's Fastest Indian tells the true story of speed bike racer Burt Munro (Played by Anthony Hopkins) and his highly modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle. Munro set numerous land speed records for motorcycles with engines less than 1,000 cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1950's and into the 1960's which is why the film's director/writer Roger Donaldson (who co-produced the film alongside Gary Hannam) took nearly 20 years to develop the film before he started filming it. He even had "rough draft" in the form of a short TV documentary called Burt Munro: Offerings to the God of Speed in 1971. Ultimately, a major issue was arranging the financing for a full feature film, but a key Japanese investor, and Donaldson and Hannam's own money allowed the film to be made. And the attention to detail in the film was equally important.

Many of the props used for filming were actually owned by Munro, including all the exploded pistons and the piston mould that Hopkins uses for a scene in the film. Beforehand, they were on display at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. Finally, in terms of performance, Hopkins stated in interviews that Munro was one of the easiest roles that he has ever played in his career; simply because Munro's view on life was not all that different from his own. This endless stream of commitment to accuracy and getting just the right actor to understand Munro led the film becoming the highest grossing local film at the New Zealand box-office taking in NZ$7,043,000. In other words, the local hero was honored well. Stay tuned!

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