Matt Damon to play Carroll Shelby in Ford vs. Ferrari Le Mans film

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A Ford GT40 rounds a curve at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. An upcoming film about the historic Ford victory will star Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby. | RM Sotheby's photo
A Ford GT40 rounds a curve at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. An upcoming film about the historic Ford victory will star Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby. | RM Sotheby's photo

Everyone loves an underdog and back in 1966, Ford was just that. Yet the Blue Oval managed to pull off a victory that is clearly ready made for the silver screen.

The movie will center around the battle between Ford and Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Carroll Shelby and a trio of Ford GT40s shocked the world with a 1-2-3 finish at endurance racing’s main event.

Ford wanted so badly to beat Ferrari at its own game after Ferrari spurned Ford’s bid to buy the company and Shelby helped put Ford in the winner’s circle.

A prior attempt at this production was to be an adaptation of A.J. Baime’s book “Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans.” Now it appears the plan is to turn that book into a television series for an unnamed network.

The new Ford versus Ferrari film will pull its information from different source materials, and the screenplay will be written by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth.

You’ll know the work of Jez Butterworth if you’ve seen Edge of Tomorrow, Black Mass, or Spectre. Mangold was the man in charge of Logan, Walk the Line and Cop Land, among a number of other films.

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The plan is to have Matt Damon portray Shelby, while Christian Bale is attached to portray Shelby’s friend and test driver, Ken Miles. The Punisher himself, Jon Bernthal, will play Lee Iacocca.

This is a story that should work well on the big screen, especially with the names attached at this early stage of development. Mangold turned Wolverine’s story into a truly gritty tale with Logan. That same darkness and grit could bring an amazing pairing of storytelling and visuals to a tale focused on a desire to win.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. This is the dumbest casting move in history. A short monobrowed leftist portraying one a big, rangy handsome guy? Ridiculous. Tyical Hollywood BS. Does Damon even know how to drive a stick?

    • OK, first: this is a dumb idea, though in Hollywood’s eyes its probably a winning equation. How many good (not excellent) original (i.e. not documentary) racing movies have been made in the last 20 years? Not "acceptable"; good. Maybe two? Of those,how many did well at the box office? See where this is going? Anybody here seen The Battle of Britain? Worked fairly well, but mostly because it was possible to wrangle enough real aircraft dating from that event. Hands up on how many Ford GT40 Mark II’s will be driven in this movie. Ferrari P4’s? Panhard CD’s? It’s just another place where someone needed a friend to say "NO. This isn’t a good idea."

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