Michael Mann has been trying to make an Enzo Ferrari biopic for years and years. It seems like he’d missed the boat after his last film, Blackhat, thoroughly bombed at the box office, and James Mangold‘s Ford v Ferrari kind of stole his thunder.
Not only that, but filmmakers like Mann – ones who prospered in the 90s and early 2000s with big budget, star-driven films – have fallen away as Hollywood has shifted towards franchises and movie stars have become far less of a driving force in the industry. The likelihood of him making this film seemed low. And yet, not only is it still alive, but Hugh Jackman is on board to star.
Christian Bale was originally attached to star in the film, but backed out over health concerns. He went on to star in Ford v Ferrari, ironically enough. Mann himself was actually attached to direct that at one point – perhaps as fallback in case his Ferrari biopic never happened – but Mangold eventually took over, although Mann retained an executive producer credit.
Anyway, what’s this Ferrari film about? Well, it’s based on Brock Yates‘ book Enzo Ferrari – The Man And The Machine, and takes place in the summer of 1957 when Ferrari is facing a variety of struggles. The company is going broke, and Ferrari’s tempestuous marriage with wife Laura has already suffered the death of their son, Dino. Ferrari’s other son, 12-year-old Piero, now wants to know his place in the world.
Enzo decides to boldly roll the dice for all their futures on one race 1,000 miles across Italy; the infamous 1957 Mile Miglia. Much of the film is set during the dangerous race, where “Laura will discover long kept secrets, opportunities will rise and fade, and drivers, like surrogate sons, will push beyond the edge”.
Does that sound good? Of course! But honestly any new Mann film is worth getting excited about, who knows how many he has left in him? The director teaming up with Jackman makes sense, as Jackman is not only one of the few remaining movie stars, but is coming off an impressive performance in HBO’s film, Bad Education.
Mann’s Ferrari is currently scheduled to begin filming in the spring of 2021. Considering the myriad setbacks this project has had, it’s worth taking that as a tentative date, but Jackman’s presence certainly gives cinephiles around the world hope that Mann will get to make at least one more film.