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In preparation for his role, Christian Bale took race driving lessons at the Bondurant High Performance Driving School. As it happened, the founder of the school had been a friend of Ken Miles. So in addition to the driving, Bale also got to hear stories of the 1960s racing scene. Bale's instructor and the film's stunt coordinator, Robert Nagle later stated; "he's hands down the best actor I've ever trained."
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Matt Damon said that the number one reason he wanted to do the movie was to work with Christian Bale.
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Matt Damon and Christian Bale agreed that the brawl between their respective characters was the most fun scene to film. Both have experience of extensively choreographed fight scenes that take weeks to learn so it was a positive change that they only had to rehearse the brawl for twenty minutes and weren't required to look lethal while doing it.
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According to Matt Damon, Christian Bale had to lose seventy pounds before filming began. Bale had previously gained a lot of weight for his role in Vice (2018) and had about seven months to lose it all and then some to play the lean race car driver, Ken Miles. Damon inquired of Bale how he managed to lose all the weight, to which Bale replied that he simply didn't eat. Damon said he was impressed by Bale's monk-like discipline.
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In order to recreate the Le Mans circuit as it existed in the 1960s the scenes taking place on the race track had to be shot in five different locations. This proved a challenge in terms of continuity as not only the cars had to be correctly placed for each shot but the weather had to be consistent as well. VFX was critical in fixing a variety of continuity issues, some of which were as simple as adjusting clocks to the right time.
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More than fifty years after their racing heyday, the Ford GT cars depicted in the movie are still so famous and popular that several companies make modern replicas that can be purchased by the public, either as kits or turn-keys. Race Car Replicas ("RCR") in Michigan is one of these companies and RCR built all of the replica Ford GT40s used in this movie, as well as other makes also seen in this film. The modern replicas have many upgrades for safety, reliability and ease of manufacturing, but are outwardly identical in appearance and mechanical configuration. Many of the original Ford GT40s from the LeMans 1966 race still exist, but they are now collector's items worth millions of dollars and are not suitable for the risks of filming.
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Ford distanced themselves from the film before it was released over its portrayal of Leo Beebe and Henry Ford II as villains.
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Marketed as "Ford v Ferrari" in North America. In most other countries around the world it is titled "Le Mans 66".
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Before the Ford Motors event to introduce the new Mustang, Shelby pilots a Lockheed Model 10 Electra with other Ford executives. Shelby did not go to school, instead he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, serving in World War II as a flight instructor and test pilot. He graduated with the rank of staff sergeant pilot.
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Perhaps intentionally, the film skips the 1965 World Sportscar Championship. Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby teamed up to win the Daytona race that year in a Shelby Ford GT40 and finish second in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Ferrari still won at Le Mans and no Fords finished. Ferrari also won that year's FIA International Trophy for GT Prototypes. 1966 would indeed prove the pivotal year for Ford v. Ferrari.
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Christian Bale was originally set to play Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann's Enzo Ferrari, but dropped out to due concerns he had regarding getting the proper weight in time for the movie. Mann replaced him with Hugh Jackman.
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Not shown in the film is John Surtees, the English driver who had won the 1964 Formula 1 World Championship while driving for Ferrari and who was set to race with Scuderia Ferrari again at Le Mans in 1966. However, he famously quit Ferrari over a disagreement with Enzo Ferrari after his suggestion to be a pace-setting "hare" that would force the GT40s to push themselves to the limit to catch him was dismissed and did not drive in the race.
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Lee Iacocca died on July, 2019, at the age of 94, four months before the movie was released.
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The film was stuck in development for a long time. Director James Mangold became interested in making it as far back as 2010 and would periodically check in with 20th Century Fox to inquire if the project was available. It wasn't until after he made Logan (2017) that he was brought on board to direct the film. He and the screenwriters decided to focus the story on Shelby and Miles instead of the ensemble of previous drafts. After managing to get the required budget below $100 million Mangold finally received the green light from Fox.
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In WWII, Ford built B-24 bombers. B-24 bombers were used to bomb Italy and the Ferrari plants.
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Peter Miles, son of Ken, worked as an executive administrator of a vintage car collection belonging to billionaire William E. "Chip" Connor II., valued at over $80 million. One of those in the collection is a Ferrari 250 GTO, which Shelby built the Cobra Daytona Coupe to battle against in the GT class.
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According to his Instagram Josh Brolin had some scenes or a cameo in the movie, but they were cut out.
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In the scene where Ford breaks down after the ride with Shelby, he says he wished that his father could have had the experience. He did not mean Henry Ford. Henry Ford was his grandfather, his father was Edsel Ford.
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In one scene, Shelby refers to Henry Ford II as "The Deuce". Ford was called "Hank the Deuce" as far back as the early 1940's.
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Eric Broadley, one of the early designers of the GT40, does not make an appearance in the movie, but the box for a plastic model of Broadley's Lola T70 race car can be seen on a shelf in Peter Miles' bedroom.
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While pitching his racing idea in 1963, Lee Iacocca notes that James Bond does not drive a Ford. Bond did drive a Mustang in Thunderball (1965) and later in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
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All scenes of the Daytona 24-hour race were filmed at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
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Ford's other drivers in 1966 also included Scotsman Sir Jackie Stewart, who went on to win three F1 World Championships, and American AJ Foyt, who went on to become the only man to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. However, both did not race at Le Mans in 1966 due to injury.
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Early in the film when Ken Miles (Christian Bale) wants to end the debate with his wife (Caitriona Balfe) over their financial situation, he says that they should quit "going all around the Wrekin". This is a phrase originating in the West Midlands of England to signify that someone should stop waffling and get to the point (the Wrekin is a prominent hill in Shropshire). As Ken Miles was from Sutton Coldfield it is certainly the sort of expression that he could have used.
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This movie was formerly titled "Go Like Hell" and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were considered for the roles.
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Tracy Letts (Henry Ford) cried on command during the test drive scene, as he was very close with his late father.
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While Miles and Shelby were known to have a hand in the car's development, the film fails to mention that the car also had a vast development team which included bureaucrats at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan headquarters, nicknamed the 'Glass House'; besides Lunn, a team in the UK including Shelby's former team manager, John Wyer and Lola's Eric Broadley.
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During the first encounter between Miles and Shelby, the race at Riverside race would had taken place on February 2, 1963. The race was the Pacific Coast Championship Point Races Riverside. Miles had by then already signed up to drive for Shelby by then as that car actually belonged to him.
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The watch Carroll Shelby wears is a Heuer Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter. Jack Heuer (founder of Heuer Watches) and Heuer watches have always had a strong involvement in motorsport. The Carrera collection was created in 1963, inspired by the iconic Carrera Pan Americana race.
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With a lot of the testing runs and GT40 development taking place at LAX International airport you can regularly see the iconic 'Theme Building' in the background. Built in 1960-61 this was the most recent terminal building added to the airport at the start of the 60s.
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The Claret and Blue jersey Ken Miles' son wears during one scene is a replica of one worn in the 1960's by English Football team Aston Villa.
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Lee Iacocca notes that James Bond does not drive a Ford while showing a photo of Sean Connery next to an Aston Martin. Ford will later assist in building Aston Martins between 1994 to 2006.
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Noah Jupe previously played Matt Damon's son in Suburbicon (2017). They both co-star again in this movie, though Noah plays the son of Christian Bale.
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The 24 Hours of Daytona race took place on February 5th-6th, 1966. The Le Mans took place on June 18th-19th, 1966.
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Lee Iacocca, played in the film by John Bernthal and shown convincing Henry Ford II to take on Ferrari at Le Mans, went on to become president of the Ford Motor Company from 1970 until he was fired by Ford in 1978. He would be recruited later that year to run the Chrysler Corporation until he retired as Chairman and CEO in 1992.
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In the film, Henry Ford II said he "gonna bury that greasy Italian". He married an Italian in 1965.
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The electric slot cars being played with by Peter Miles, include a Ferrari 250 Testarossa (1958 Le Mans participant) by Strombecker, and a Lola T70 by Aurora.
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The sequence where they are racing the 24 hours of Daytona, in the film, they are actually racing at AutoClub Speedway in Fontana California. Their SAFER Barriers are also visible in some shots, which didn't get installed until the 2000's. Additionally, AutoClub Speedway was built on the location of the steel mill that the finale of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) was filmed.
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Stars three Oscar winners: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, and Ray McKinnon.
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A number of aircraft can be seen in the film: Boeing 727 -100 Freighter - seen outside the Shelby American Vehicles Hanger and Lockheed Electra Flown in by Carroll Shelby to the Ford Motors Event
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This will be the third time Matt Damon has worked with an actor who has portrayed Batman. He previously worked with Ben Affleck and George Clooney, and will be starring with Val Kilmer in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019).
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As of March 2018, Christian Bale and Matt Damon were eyed for the lead roles.
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To help promote the film Matt Damon and Christian Bale both waved the green flag at the 2019 Indy 500. The race would go on to be won by a Frenchman, Simon Pagenaud.
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Christian Bale previously worked with Josh Lucas in American Psycho (2000).
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Second time that Matt Damon has played a character named Carroll. He previously played one of Tina Fey's love interests on 30 Rock who was not only named Carol but who also was a pilot.
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This is the second collaboration between Remo Girone (Enzo Ferrari) and Peter Arpesella (Ferrari Pit Chief). They previously shared the screen in "Live by Night" (Ben Affleck), where Remo Girone plays crime boss, Maso Pescatore, and Peter Arpesella is his capo, Gino Valocco.
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Christian Bale (Ken Miles) is well known for playing Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)), while Jon Bernthal (Lee Iacocca) is known for playing Frank Castle/The Punisher (The Punisher (2017)). Both of those roles are comic-book anti-hero vigilantes who are ordinary human men (no superpowers), known for their strong moral code towards the innocent, their often brutal treatment of the guilty, and their intimidating armor/costume.
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Three of the cast/crew have principal ties to acclaimed live-action adaptations of comics: Christian Bale played Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012); Jon Bernthal played Frank Castle/The Punisher in The Punisher (2017); and James Mangold directed the Wolverine films The Wolverine (2013) and Logan (2017).
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Tracy Letts (Henry Ford II) & Christian Bale (Ken Miles) played together in "The Big Short" (2015).
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The scenes at Daytona were filmed at California Speedway in Fontana, California.
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The red car seen in the FoMoCo executive slide presentation early in film is a Lotus Elite, produced from 1958 to 1963 by Lotus Cars Ltd.
The last name of Italian actor Remo Girone (Enzo Ferrari) means :"circle" in English. The related word "giri" means "revolutions"; the tachometers on Italian cars measure "giri per minuto" (RPM).
One of two movies based on rivals' efforts to break Ferrari's dominance at Le Mans. the other being Le Mans (1971) ("I want Porsche to win Le Mans"), starring Steve McQueen.
Barely alluded to in the film ("fresh off the plane from England"), the Ford GT40 Mk I, and to a large extent the Mk !!, were designed and built in England. Only the Mk IV was designed and built in the United States. (The Mk III was a road-only car; only seven were built.)
The first car that Carroll Shelby shows to Ken Miles ("fresh off the plane from England") represents the rarely-seen Ford GT, before its name being changed to "GT40". The car in the film is presumably a replica; it differs from the actual car in one respect: The original had a distinctive thin slit along the leading edge of the nose for a radiator intake, which later proved to be inadequate for cooling, despite being aerodynamically designed. Instead of that, the car shown has a much larger scoop under the leading edge.
Ferrari responded to their loss at Le Mans by winning the next race they entered along with Ford, the 24 Hours of Daytona the following year, being held in Ford's home territory. They finished the race by claiming all three podium spots. Toward the end, at the request of management, the three leaders grouped and cross the finish line together in the same fashion as the Fords at Le Mans. The following year, without Ford and Ferrari as contenders due to rule changes, Porsche repeated the same parade celebrations when they won at Daytona. It is now uncommon for teams to order drivers to hold celebration laps at the closing hour of an endurance race.
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Ken Miles' death occurred on August 17th, 1966.
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Carroll Shelby's 1959 Le Mans victory in an Aston Martin DBR1 was especially sweet for him. Ferrari had rejected him as a factory driver, so beating them at Le Mans gave him great satisfaction.
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Ferrari's response to the Ford GT40 Mark II at Le Mans in 1966 was the 330 P3 (with P meaning Prototype), Ferrari's first fuel-injected car.
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Three of the four drivers who effectively finished first equal (official winners Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, plus Ken Miles' co-driver Denny Hulme) were New Zealanders. The only Americans who finished the 1966 race for Shelby American/Ford were Ronnie Buckman and Dick Hutcherson. They drove the third Ford that crossed the line with the two leaders, but were actually twelve laps behind, finishing a clear third.
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