Director James Mangold has come aboard to direct a new Ford vs. Ferrari project for 20th Century Fox. The director was originally slated to make a Patty Hearst biopic for the studio next, as his follow-up to the R-rated blockbuster Logan, but that movie was canceled, following complaints from Hearst and her family, who blasted the 2016 unauthorized biography by Jeffrey Toobin that the movie was being based on. Now Fox is bringing James Mangold back for this project, and while no production schedule or release date have been given, sources claim the director is eyeing Christian Bale and Matt Damon for the movie.
This project is based on a true story, following Henry Ford II, who assembles a team including legendary automotive designer Carroll Shelby, who designed the AC Cobra and the Ford Mustang, and British driver Ken Miles, who are tasked with building a brand new car that could finally defeat longtime rival Ferrari at the 24-hour LeMans World Championship, which had won the iconic race for the past six years in a row. The car they came up with, the Ford GT40, finally defeated Ferrari in the 1966 race, starting a streak of four wins in a row. While no casting has been confirmed yet, director James Mangold is rumored to be interested in Christian Bale to play driver Ken Miles, and Matt Damon to play Carroll Shelby, although it isn’t known for sure if this will be his next project.
Last summer, James Mangold signed on to direct an adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel The Force, which was one of the most critically-acclaimed books of 2017. The filmmaker will be directing from an adapted screenplay by David Mamet, which marks his first feature script since Redbelt in 2008, although he did write and direct the HBO TV movie Phil Spector in 2013. 20th Century Fox has already set a March 1, 2019 release date for The Force, so it’s possible that may move ahead first, but that has yet to be confirmed. Since The Force and this Ford vs. Ferrari Project are under the same studio roof, we should find out soon. Regardless of which project moves forward first, don’t expect any post-credit scenes, with the director recently going on a scathing rant about why he hates these bonus cookies tagged to the end of most modern day blockbusters, yelling about them at the 2018 Writers Guild Beyond Words Panel.
James Mangold will be developing the project with screenwriters Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Fair Game), with Peter Chernin producing through his Chernin Entertainment company. 20th Century Fox used to have the rights to the A.J. Baime book “Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans,” which also focuses on the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, but the rights ended up being shifted to Legendary Entertainment, who are now developing the book into a TV series. This new project will be based on different source material, although that source material wasn’t specified in this report.
This comes just days after James Mangold landed his first Oscar nomination, earning the nod for Best Adapted Screenplay alongside Michael Green and Scott Frank. James Mangold is also attached to direct and produce the family adaptation Crenshaw, based on Katherine Applegate’s book, and he also served as an executive producer on The Greatest Showman, which starred Hugh Jackman. Variety broke the news on this project earlier today.