Chris Hemsworth may have had to drop about 30 pounds in order to play late British race car driver James Hunt in Rush (his Thor bod was too big for the Formula One cars), but his costar had to go through quite a transformation, too.

Daniel Brühl plays Austrian racing champ Niki Lauda in the Ron Howard-directed film about the real-life rivalry between Lauda and Hunt in the 1970s.

Lauda's face was disfigured after he suffered extensive burns in a near fatal accident during the 1976 German Grand Prix.

Oscar-winning prosthetics artist Mark Coulier was responsible for creating Brühl's facial and head scars. "The first time, I think I fell asleep because it took six to seven hours," Brühl tells me. "When I woke up it was shocking, really shocking."

Rush, Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl

Jaap Buitendijk/Universal Studios

He said, "The shocking experience was sometimes I would go on set and there were extras who didn't realize it was prosthetic makeup and they were afraid when they looked at me. That made me understand what Niki had gone through."

Despite Lauda's accident, he returned to racing just six weeks after the accident.

Brühl and the notoriously undiplomatic Lauda became friends during the making of the film.

"When he first called me, he said, 'I guess we have to meet now' and I said, 'Well, Niki, that would be very helpful,'" Brühl remembered. "He said, 'Just bring hand luggage to Vienna in case we don't like each other you can piss off right away.' I went to Vienna but…I had to buy some extra clothes because he liked me.'"

Rush hits theaters on Sept. 27.

Daniel Bruhl, Rush

Universal Pictures

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