James Mangold directs this biopic about automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) who are tasked with designing the Ford GT40, a state-of-the-art racing car, in the hopes of defeating the long-dominant Ferrari racing team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Directed by: James Mangold
Written by: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller
Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, and Wallace Langham
- Ford v Ferrari has been in development for several years. In 2013, when the movie was titled Go Like Hell, it was set to star Tom Cruise as Carroll Shelby with the goal of bringing Brad Pitt on to play Ken Miles.
- Throughout his acclaimed career, Christian Bale has regularly transformed his body to fit whatever role he is playing. In the case of Ford v Ferrari, which he filmed after gaining weight to play Dick Cheney in Vice, the role required a significant weight loss on Bale's part. “From the time we decided to do the movie to the time we started shooting, he dropped 70 pounds,” Matt Damon told Men’s Journal. “The first day on set, I asked him: ‘How did you do that?’ I’ve lost weight and gained weight for parts, and there are lots of theories on how to do it. And he just looked at me and said: ‘I didn’t eat.’ That guy is cut from a different cloth. He has a monk-like discipline that’s just really impressive to see."
- Somewhat ironically, Christian Bale had previously been set to star as Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann’s long-planned biopic of the pioneering car designer. But in early 2016, Bale dropped out of the project because of the amount of weight he would need to gain for the part and the small amount of prep time he’d have to do that.
- Teen actor Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) plays Peter Miles, the son of Bale’s Ken Miles. In 2017, Jupe played the son of Matt Damon’s character in Suburbicon.
- As the Le Mans racetrack no longer looks the same as it did in the 1960s, the filmmakers had to shoot the racing scenes in several different locations then piece them together, which led to some continuity problems. “To complete one lap in our movie you move through essentially four or five locations, and yet the physical relationship of all of the cars have to remain constant for it to be a continuous race,” Mangold said. “Then you had weather continuity at the same time, because in order to communicate that this is a 24-hour race I felt that we needed to have periods of rain, night, dawn, sunset, and broad day.” CGI became the filmmakers’ savior when it came to patching up any continuity issues.
- Ford v Ferrari premiered at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival to positive reviews; it currently holds an 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
20th Century Fox will release Ford v Ferrari on November 15, 2019.