Ford v Ferrari (titled Le Mans '66 in the UK and other territories) is a 2019 American biographical drama film directed by James Mangold, and written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller. It stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale, while Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, and Ray McKinnon appear in supporting roles.
The plot follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby and his British driver, Ken Miles, who are dispatched by Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca with the mission of building the Ford GT40, a new racing car with the potential to finally defeat the perennially dominant Ferrari racing team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. Early stages of the film featured Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the starring roles, but that rendition eventually fell through. Mangold was then hired in February 2018, and Damon, Bale, and the rest of the cast joined that summer. Filming began in July 2018 in California and lasted a little over two months.
In 1963, Enzo Ferrari was approached by the Ford Motor Company about a possible buyout of Ferrari. Talks were unilaterally cut off by Ferrari when Enzo realized that the deal included the purchase of Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari's racing program that had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958 and every year from 1960 through 1965. Le Mans is the world's oldest active sports car endurance race, held annually since 1923. Upset at being rebuffed, Henry Ford II directed his racing division to build a car to beat Scuderia Ferrari.
The film tells how automotive designer Carroll Shelby and race car driver Ken Miles lead a team of American engineers and designers from Ford to build a race car that can beat legendary Ferrari. Ultimately, they produce the Ford GT40 for a showdown at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Academy Award-winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in FORD v FERRARI, based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles (Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
- Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby, an American automotive designer and engineer
- Christian Bale as Ken Miles, a British World War II veteran and a professional race car driver
- Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles, Miles's wife
- Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca, vice-president of Ford
- Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II, the CEO of Ford
- Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe
- Noah Jupe as Peter Miles, Miles's son
- Remo Girone as Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Italian automobile racing company Scuderia Ferrari and luxury car company Ferrari.
- Ray McKinnon as Phil Remington
- JJ Feild as Roy Lunn, a Ford engineer involved in the GT40 program
- Gian Franco Tordi as Head of Security for Gianni Agnelli, president of Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat and Ferrari
- Jack McMullen as Charlie Agapiou
- Benjamin Rigby as Bruce McLaren, a New Zealand professional race car driver and Miles's race teammate
- Joe Williamson as Donald N. Frey, Chief Engineer of Ford
- Alex Gurney as Dan Gurney, an American professional race car driver and car constructor
- Corrado Invernizzi as Franco Gozzi
- Wallace Langham as Dr. Granger
A film based on the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari for the dominance at the Le Mans endurance race has long been in works at 20th Century Fox. Initially, it was going to star Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt from an original screenplay by Jason Keller, but the project fell apart after writers Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth drafted a script and Joseph Kosinski was brought on to direct. On February 5, 2018, it was announced that James Mangold had been brought on board to direct the film based on the previous script by Jason Keller, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth. Later, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, and Noah Jupe joined the cast alongside Christian Bale and Matt Damon in the lead roles. In July 2018, Jack McMullen was cast in the film to play one of Miles's key British mechanics, and Tracy Letts also joined to play Henry Ford II, along with Joe Williamson. In August 2018, JJ Feild was cast in the film to play the automotive engineer Roy Lunn, the head of Ford Advanced vehicles in England and the right-hand man to Henry Ford II. Composer Marco Beltrami confirmed in an interview that he would be scoring the film, Beltrami having previously worked with Mangold on 3:10 to Yuma, The Wolverine and Logan.
Filming began on July 30, 2018, and lasted for 67 days, taking place in California; New Orleans, Louisiana; Atlanta; Savannah; and Statesboro, Georgia, as well as Le Mans, France.