20th Century Fox announces new movie about 1966 Le Mans battle between blue oval and prancing horse; Matt Damon and Christian Bale to star
Film factory 20th Century Fox has set a summer 2019 release date for an upcoming James Mangold-directed biopic about the 1966 Le Mans race. Set to star Matt Damon and Christian Bale, its official title is yet to be revealed, although the production is currently stamped ‘Ferrari vs Ford’.
Matt Damon will portray Carroll Shelby in the real-life story, while Christian Bale will play British driver Ken Miles. Jon Bernthal will star as Lee Iacocca, alongside Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles and Noah Jupe as Peter Miles.
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Telling the tale of the famous heated rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, culminating in the 1966 Le Mans 24-hours – the world’s oldest and most established sports car endurance event – the film will focus on the American engineers and designers, led by the legendary Shelby.
Originally, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were set to star, but the project fell apart after reported scripting issues and ego clashes. After the critical and financial success of 2017’s X-Men spin-off Logan, director James Mangold was hired to take the vacant boss’s chair. Filming starts this summer in California.
The action-packed, tyre-burning marvel is scheduled to hit the big screen on June 28, 2019. Just a year to go, then!
After an unsuccessful attempt to buy the coveted Ferrari marque, Henry Ford II tasks automotive designer and top driver Carroll Shelby with designing a racer for the blue oval. Shelby and British driver Ken Miles then take on the prancing horse at Le Mans with the resultant GT40.
We won’t give away any spoilers, but the rest is history…
Who was Carroll Shelby?
Shelby was, and remains, the daddy of performance motoring. Responsible for pushing the Mustang and AC Cobra into the cultural stratosphere, he was also the go-to guy when Ford was looking to undertake a secret project – or, in this case, blow Ferrari clean out of the water.
Besides being Sports Illustrated’s Driver of the Year in both 1956 and 1957, he competed in Formula 1 as well as claimed 1959 Le Mans victory in an Aston Martin DBR1 with co-driver Roy Salvadori. Shelby died in 2012.
Who was Ken Miles?
Ken Miles was a British-born racer and sports car racing engineer in America. Best known for his motor sport career in the USA and his passion for American teams on the international circuit, his driving talent caught the attention of Carroll Shelby, who hired Miles as a test driver in the 1960s. Miles even helped Shelby reshape the Cobra.
In a dramatic turn of events, Miles’ life was cut short when testing the GT40’s successor, the Ford J-car. During a blisteringly hot day on the circuit, the J-car flipped and burst into flames, ejecting Miles from the wreckage and killing him instantly.
Who was Lee Iacocca?
Born on October 15, 1924, Lido Anthony ‘Lee’ Iacocca was the American automobile executive responsible for spearheading the development of Ford’s Mustang and Pinto cars. He migrated to the Chrysler Corporation to revive the failing brand as CEO in the 1980s, after Ford fired him on July 13, 1978.
His potential role in the film? Well, by the time the GT40 took on Le Mans, Iacocca was Ford’s executive vice-president.