It’s no surprise that Hollywood heavyweights are after this particular biopic.
Not that anyone’s complaining, but James Mangold is everywhere. The visionary director behind Logan has so many different projects going on at the same time. Captain Nemo. Crenshaw. The Force. The untitled Ford vs. Ferrari project. The odds of a plethora of film news leading back to him are pretty high. Actors clamor to be involved in his projects too. Evidently, Ford vs. Ferrari has attracted some notable names who have hopes to star in the picture.
According to Deadline, Matt Damon and Christian Bale are negotiating lead roles in the project that would put them on the same team against the folks at Ferrari. Damon is up for the part of Mustang designer Carroll Shelby while Bale is looking to star as driver Ken Miles. Shelby and Miles were both hired by Henry Ford II to build the world’s fastest car. If he is cast, Ford vs. Ferrari would be Damon’s first time working with Mangold, but for Bale it would mark a reunion with the director. He previously starred in Mangold’s remake of 3:10 to Yuma.
Coincidentally, Michael Mann’s Enzo Ferrari — the one that he’s been working on for 17 years — had tapped Bale to star as the titular entrepreneur years ago, although the actor had to drop out of the project citing health reasons. Bale has studiously tried not to repeat himself, playing a con artist, a whitewashed Biblical figure, a screenwriter, a hedge fund manager, a journalist, and a US Calvary officer in the last five years alone. In portraying Miles, Bale seems still ready to return to Ferrari’s story, even if he isn’t playing the man himself.
The winning combination of Bale and Mangold worked the first time on the stunning 3:10 to Yuma, which wasn’t so much a competition between opposing forces but a tense portrait of men whose allegiances change at any given second. It’s definitely a collaboration to look forward to again in Ford vs. Ferrari.
Things have been rockier for Damon in recent years, although he does have the potential to do well in a Mangold film given past dramatic performances. Damon just tends to make the news these days as more of a celebrity than as an actor, and it’s hard to keep his early iconic roles in mind when audiences are just treated to ill-advised movies about the Great Wall or comedies that result in middling to dire returns. Damon is kind of in a rut at the moment, and Mangold’s consistent success could turn that downwards streak around.
It’s only a matter of time before more high-profile people find their way to the Ford vs. Ferrari project. Enzo Ferrari settled on a new star last year (three-time Mangold collaborator Hugh Jackman) and this could result in another case of the rival biopic. Both movies have huge names attached to them, and their prospect of getting made quickly is now higher than ever.
But from what we know about the Ford vs. Ferrari film, it differs enough from Enzo Ferrari in that Mangold’s project isn’t solely about one single individual but a group that worked behind-the-scenes to ensure something great happened. Damon and Bale could be a tangible start to forming one of those formidable teams.