The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers
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The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

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Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

“How nice he is.” That was how Vanessa Nöcker, co-producer and co-director of the new documentary on Michael Schumacher, answered our question on what surprised her the most about her subject during filming. If that reads like damning with faint praise, think again about the figure we are talking about. For 20 years Schumacher was both parts an arrogant pantomime villain to the English-speaking world and a Zeus-like God who could do no wrong in his own country. But to those who worked with him at Benetton, then Ferrari and on his Formula 1 return with Mercedes, Schumacher was indeed simply ‘nice’.  

He was lovely, in fact; those who worked with him and for him generally adored him. For a man who spent so long in the unrelenting glare of the media spotlight, and in fairness didn’t always do himself any favours during the most controversial episodes that grazed his reputation through his long and ultra-successful career, being considered ‘nice’ and so incredibly grounded should be considered a remarkable achievement.

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