EXCLUSIVE: Director James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari centers on a rivalry born of automotive history, racing lore and mutual disgust. Teaming awards-season veterans Matt Damon and Christian Bale, its star power fueled the pic’s $195 million worldwide gross, but its screenplay helped drive the action on and off the track.
The script from Jez Butterworth (Spectre) & John-Henry Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow) and Jason Keller (Escape Plan) is stacked with racing thrills and color, plus no shortage of colorful characters. The dialogue is crisp and true, but often it is the script’s unspoken language that roars. For example: “Shelby’s blood beats in his ears. He takes a ragged breath. Road ahead looks like blurry hell. No armco barriers, no escape lanes, just cliff edge and trees lining the road.”
Read the full script here.
Titled Le Mans ’66 for many racing-mad European audiences who might more familiar with the true story, the pic follows automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon), British driver Ken Miles (Bale) and a team of American engineers and designers who were charged by Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) with the mission of building from scratch a new race car to defeat the perennially dominant Ferrari at the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans.
20th Century Fox/Disney’s Ford v Ferrari zoomed off the starting line to win its domestic opening weekend with $31.5 million, along with another $21.4 million overseas. Fox/Disney is taking the unconventional step of running Damon and Bale in the Best Actor races this season, and the SAG Awards and Golden Globes already have nominated Bale in their respective heats.