The first images from one of the year’s most anticipated films have arrived. Ford v. Ferrari is the new film from Logan and Walk the Line filmmaker James Mangold and stars Oscar-winners Christian Bale and Matt Damon as a pair of historical figures. The story is set against the backdrop of 1966’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France and follows maverick American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) who sets out to build a revolutionary car that would allow Ford to challenge Ferrari, with Bale playing fearless British racer Ken Miles—who gets behind the wheel of the new Ford racing vehicle.
Mangold—who co-wrote the script—tells EW he wanted to make less of a racing movie and more a “Butch and Sundance in the world of racing,” honing in on the relationship between the two central figures. Given that these kinds of big-budget character dramas are becoming endangered species, Damon says the joke on set was that they were making the last movie ever:
“As we were making it, we joked that it was the last movie ever. Luckily, we had this great character drama that was inside this other story.” But the old-school approach was crucial in preserving the heart of the film. “These are real people with love and loss and fears that aren’t handled in three mini-moments between the next 100-decibel, 12-minute action sequence,” says Mangold. “And it’s an acting tour de force — Matt and Christian have never been better.”
As for the racing sequences, Mangold said his approach to Logan carried over into this film:
“One of the main goals with Logan was that I felt the superhero genre had gotten so CGI’d, so I wanted to make it as emotionally and physically real as possible,” he says. “And that very much carried over into Ford v Ferrari. I wanted to see a racing film where the cars weren’t all digital creations [and] we were really out there on the track. And not just so we could talk about it when we’re doing press, but because it actually makes a physical difference when you see it on screen.”
Response to the first footage from Ford v. Ferrari was rapturous at CinemaCon earlier this year, and 20th Century Fox/Disney was so bullish on the film that they bumped its release date from summer to fall to give it a better positioning for awards. Are Damon, Bale, and Mangold in line for some Oscar glory? We’ll find out later this year when Ford vs. Ferrari opens in theaters on November 15th.
Check out the first images from the movie below, via EW.