The forthcoming film “Ferrari,” which delves into the life of Enzo Ferrari and the foundational years of his namesake automotive empire, will not shy away from exposing the brutal realities of racing during that era.
Directed by Michael Mann, the film casts Adam Driver in the role of Enzo Ferrari and takes an intimate look at a crucial three-month period in 1957 that was pivotal both for Ferrari’s career and personal life. During this period, Ferrari was grappling with the death of his son, Dino, due to illness, and was also embroiled in an extramarital relationship with Lina Lardi, portrayed by Shailene Woodley, which his wife Laure, played by Penélope Cruz, would eventually discover.
Financial and Emotional Struggles
Amid personal turmoil, Ferrari’s enterprise was also on the brink of failure. According to the narrative arc of the film, salvation for the floundering company hinged on a strong performance by its factory racing team in the 1957 Mille Miglia. This treacherous 1,000-mile race unfolded on public roads, bereft of modern safety protocols. The race was marred by tragedy when Ferrari driver Alfonso de Portago crashed in the Italian village of Guidizzolo, resulting in his death and that of 10 onlookers, including five children. After this tragic incident, the Mille Miglia was restructured into a rally-style event, allowing high-speed driving only on closed circuits.
Prior to commencing filming, Mann directed cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt and his crew to scrutinize video footage of the catastrophic 1955 crash at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes-Benz flew into the stands, killing Levegh and an estimated 80-plus spectators in the most fatal accident in racing history. Mann also undertook a journey to Guidizzolo to conduct interviews with individuals who had witnessed the 1957 crash firsthand.
A Long-Awaited Film
Interestingly, the inspiration for the movie came from a rather benign encounter. Mann recalls being captivated by the sight of a 275 GTB Ferrari cruising down a London street while he was a film student in 1967.
The film has had a long gestation period. Mann commenced work on it in 1993 after reading a screenplay adapted from a biography of Enzo Ferrari penned by the late Car and Driver editor, Brock Yates. The project languished in production limbo for many years, coming close to realization in 2014 with Christian Bale slated to play the lead role. Bale eventually withdrew, and talks began with Hugh Jackman for the role in 2020. Now, after several setbacks, the film is on the cusp of finally being released.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Enzo Ferrari Film
What is the primary focus of the upcoming film “Ferrari”?
The film focuses on Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the Ferrari automotive brand, particularly highlighting a pivotal three-month period in 1957. It delves into both his professional and personal life, including his company’s struggles and his complicated relationships.
Who are the key actors in this film?
Adam Driver plays the role of Enzo Ferrari, while Penélope Cruz portrays his wife Laure. Shailene Woodley is cast as Lina Lardi, with whom Enzo Ferrari has an extramarital affair.
What historical racing events are portrayed in the film?
The film pays significant attention to the Mille Miglia race of 1957, which was known for its lack of modern safety measures. It also references the catastrophic 1955 crash at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the deadliest in racing history.
Why does the film focus on the year 1957?
The year 1957 was a pivotal one for Enzo Ferrari. He was dealing with personal loss, the illness and death of his son Dino, and was also facing business challenges. A strong performance in the Mille Miglia was critical for the survival of his company.
How long has the movie been in production?
The film has been in the works since 1993. It faced multiple setbacks, including changes in the lead actor. It was close to approval in 2014 with Christian Bale as the lead but ultimately did not move forward until recently.
What inspired Michael Mann to make this film?
Michael Mann was inspired to make a movie about Enzo Ferrari after seeing a Ferrari 275 GTB on a London street while he was a film student in 1967.
Is the film expected to portray the risks and tragedies associated with 1950s motorsports?
Yes, the film does not intend to downplay the dangerous aspects of racing during that period, including fatal accidents that affected both drivers and spectators.
Who is the cinematographer for the film?
The cinematography is handled by Erik Messerschmidt, who, along with his crew, studied footage of historical racing tragedies to bring realism to the film.
Has the film faced any casting changes?
Yes, initially Christian Bale was set to play the role of Enzo Ferrari. Later, Hugh Jackman entered into talks for the role. Ultimately, Adam Driver was cast as Enzo Ferrari.
What is the source material for the film?
The film is partly based on a screenplay adapted from a biography of Enzo Ferrari written by the late Car and Driver editor, Brock Yates.
More about Enzo Ferrari Film
- Enzo Ferrari Biography
- Michael Mann Filmography
- Adam Driver’s Career
- Historical Overview of Mille Miglia
- 1955 Le Mans Disaster
- Shailene Woodley’s Film Roles
- Penélope Cruz’s Acting Career
- Erik Messerschmidt’s Cinematography
- The Making of “Ferrari” Film
- Overview of Ferrari Company History