Chris Hemsworth has admitted he got a taste for speed during the filming of Rush, the new feature he stars in.

The world premiere for the film, which is directed by Ron Howard, was held in London's Leicester Square on Monday (September 2).

Rush is the story of the fierce rivalry between racing drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda as they battled for the 1976 Formula One World Championship.

Hemsworth plays Hunt, a charming and hard-partying British playboy whose attitude to the sport is in stark contrast to Lauda's serious and scientific approach.

The role required Hemsworth to drive powerful race cars, a task he enjoyed.

"It probably leads to a little over confidence which is dangerous," he said.

"It's every young bloke's dream to jump in one of these things and whip 'round the track, it was cool."

"I think you've got to appreciate the commitment to not conform to anyone else's standard or other peoples' opinion, it was do it his way," he said.

German actor Daniel Bruhl plays Lauda, a no-nonsense Austrian whose fiery crash during that 1976 season saw him so badly burnt he was given the last rites by a priest and left permanently disfigured.

"I will never forgot the first conversation (with Lauda) was hilarious," said Bruhl.

"He said (putting on Lauda's accent): 'Well I guess we have to meet now.' And he said: 'Well just bring hand luggage to Vienna, in case we don't like each other you can piss off right away.' So it made me a bit nervous!"

Niki Lauda was at the premiere, and said seeing the film depiction of himself in Rush stirred emotions he'd not felt at the time of his accident.

"It is different because when I was fighting for my life I was busy," he said.

"Sometimes I got upset because (people) always looked at how I look and I shocked them in a way. But when I saw the movie the first time they were right. I really looked a bit funny after the accident."

Peter Morgan, who wrote the screenplay for Howard's 2008 hit Frost/Nixon, also penned Rush.

Fans in Leicester Square covered their ears as 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button arrived at the premiere in a 1974 McLaren race car.

Button said he'd been impressed by Howard's approach.

"It's always very difficult with a racing film or motorsport film for them to get it right and for it to be realistic but this film is and it's very exciting. I think Ron (Howard) has done a great job in understanding the sport, really getting involved in the sport. Spending a lot of time with the drivers, the engineers, the mechanics. So it does feel very realistic."

Rush opens in UK cinemas on September 13.

Presented by Adam Justice