The story of Enzo Ferrari, the man behind the winningest Formula 1 team ever and arguably the greatest performance car dynasty out there, is a tough one to cram into a feature film. But acclaimed director Michael Mann of Heat and Ali is giving it a shot, by focusing on the blackest summer of Enzo's life in a new biopic, Ferrari. In an interview with Variety, Mann revealed the movie will spare no detail—not even the most gruesome racing tragedies.
Speaking to Variety, Mann revealed that the Adam Driver-starring film will take place in the summer of 1957 as a multitude of conflicts in Ferrari's life come to a head. His company is struggling, his drivers are dying, and his wife feels it all as acutely as he does, because she's Ferrari's CFO. What she doesn't know is that Enzo's been hiding a son with his mistress, and on top of it all, Ferrari is still reeling from the death of his young son Dino the year prior. His best hope is success in the Mille Miglia, a sports car race that traverses Italy.
Mann explained that the film has been in pre-production for more than three decades, and can be traced back to being awestruck by a 275 GTB four-cam when he was young. He long considered it expensive and unlikely to appeal to American audiences, but F1 establishing a foothold in the U.S. and the success of 2019's Ford v Ferrari have more recently paved the way. Now, on a budget of $95 million, produced outside the loop of Hollywood's ongoing strike (which Mann voiced support for), the movie's on track to release on December 25, 2023.
It won't be an easy watch—not just because of the heart-wrenching drama on-screen, but also because of the film's graphic depiction of racing crashes. To recreate at least one fatal incident depicted in the film, Mann's production team carefully reviewed footage of the 1955 Le Mans disaster and spoke to an eyewitness of an infamous Mille Miglia crash. It reportedly doesn't shy from showing the gruesome aftermath, either. "The resulting scene is one of the most violent and emotionally crushing I’ve ever seen," Stephen Rodrick, the author of the Variety piece, wrote. "Mann is unsparing—there are severed body parts and decapitated torsos."
In any case, you'll need as strong a stomach as racers of the era had to see Ferrari when it releases in U.S. theaters on December 25, 2023.
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