Rumors have been going around for a while about a feature film telling the tremendous true story of Ford and Ferrari’s epic racing rivalry of the 1960s. But with a director attached and a new round of casting negotiations, a Variety report suggests the green flag for the yet-to-be-named movie is imminent.
It’s a story that’s tough to summarize briefly, but if you don’t already know it, Ford tried to buy Ferrari in the 1960s and the deal fell through at the last minute. Then-executive Henry Ford II was so angry that he got a team together lead by Carroll Shelby to beat Ferrari at its own game at the 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race. Spoiler alert: The resulting car was the Ford GT40, and it went on to take the top three positions in the 1966 LeMans World Championship race.
It’s reported that the unnamed film will be directed by James Mangold, whose resume includes Logan and Girl, Interrupted, with a script by Edge of Tomorrow writers Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. It will be based on The Drive alumnus A.J. Baime’s 2010 book Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans.
The cast is where this future film really gets interesting. Oscar winner Matt Damon of the Bourne movie series, Good Will Hunting, The Departed, and countless other modern classics will play the role of Carroll Shelby. Damon might seem an odd choice to play Shelby at first, but he’s actually a little older now than Shelby was in the mid 1960s.
British driver Ken Miles will be played by none other than former Batman Christian Bale. Miles was behind the wheel of the GT40 that finished second at LeMans in 1966. A close friend of Shelby, he was instrumental in the development of the GT40 and other legends like the Shelby Cobra and Mustang GT350. His tragic death in the experimental Ford J-car at the Riverside International Raceway in 1966 at age 47 resulted in mandatory steel roll cages at LeMans thereafter.
The newest possible addition to the cast, which sounds like isn’t a done deal quite yet, is Jon Bernthal. Bernthal is probably best known for his role of Frank Castle in The Punisher and Daredevil on Netflix. He was also in Baby Driver, Fury, The Accountant, and early seasons of The Walking Dead. Bernthal is slated to play car industry legend Lee Iacocca, who both spearheaded the development of the Mustang and played a part in getting Ford’s racing A-Team together.
If IMDb is to be believed, shooting for this movie will begin this summer, possibly for a 2019 release. It’s worth noting that a TV show about the same subject is in the works with Peter Dinklage and Channing Tatum producing. If that’s not enough for you, there are also multiple Enzo Ferrari biopics in development which will surely touch on the Ford rivalry.
Even if that seems like overkill, it’s all in the spirit of Ford’s maniacal desire to beat Ferrari at all costs. And it’s certainly a story that deserves to be told.