Exclusive Media Group (EMG) has come aboard Ron Howard’s Formula 1 motor racing drama Rush and will split financing duties with Cross Creek Pictures.

Exclusive Films International, run by EMG co-head Guy East, president Alex Walton and co-president Alex Brunner, will commence pre-sales here on the project, which is based on a screenplay by Peter Morgan. A US deal has not yet been announced.

Rush marks the third collaboration between EMG and Cross Creek following last week’s Venice opener The Ides Of March and upcoming horror thriller The Woman In Black.

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl will star as James Hunt and Niki Lauda, the radically different personalities and motor racing titans whose fierce rivalry dominated the sport in the 1970s. Alexandra Maria Lara from Downfall will also star.

Howard makes his first independent foray in more than 25 years – a huge coup for the sector – and has commenced shooting technical footage at Germany’s Nürburgring, the German racetrack that stages an annual veteran car race.

Filming will continue in the UK at Silverstone before principal photography proper gets underway towards the end of the year.

Exclusive and Cross Creek are producing alongside Imagine Entertainment, Working Title and Revolution Films. Howard, Cross Creek head Brian Oliver, Brian Grazer, Eric Fellner, Morgan and Andrew Eaton are producing and EMG co-heads Nigel Sinclair and East serve as executive producers with Tobin Armbrust and Imagine’s Todd Hallowell.

“This is one of the greatest stories set in one of the world’s greatest sports,” Sinclair (pictured) said. “Add Ron Howard’s singular ability to grip you with emotion, drama and thrill, and we are off to a Grand Prix race.”

Rush is Ron Howard’s first independent picture for over 25 years and we are very proud to present him and the film to our international distribution partners,” East said. “He has attracted an outstanding cast for Peter Morgan’s very powerful screenplay and we feel very confident in the success of this movie.”

“We are excited to continue our successful partnership with Nigel and Guy and the team at Exclusive,” Oliver said. “They are great collaborators and partners and we are thrilled to have them on board to co-finance and produce this film with Cross Creek.”