‘Ford v Ferrari’: Director James Mangold on the Crazy Way They Filmed the Le Mans Race

     September 18, 2019

The audio issue at the beginning of the interview is resolved by the 3 minute mark.

One of my favorite movies of 2019 is director James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari. Not only is the true-story racing drama incredibly well made, it’s loaded with fantastic performances from every single cast member. Trust me, if you want to see a brilliant piece of filmmaking, look no further than Ford v Ferrari. For more on the film, you can read Adam Chitwood’s glowing review.


Image via 20th Century Fox

If you haven’t seen the trailer, Ford v Ferrari is set against the backdrop of 1966’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France and follows maverick American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who is challenged by Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) and Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) to build a revolutionary car that would allow Ford to challenge Ferrari. Christian Bale plays fearless yet dangerous British racer Ken Miles, who gets behind the wheel of the new Ford racing vehicle. The film also stars Caitriona BalfeJosh Lucas, and Noah Jupe.

Shortly after seeing the film at the Toronto International Film Festival, I got to sit down with James Mangold at the Collider studio for an extended interview. During the wide-ranging conversation he revealed the incredible challenges recreating the Le Mans race track for their big third act race, how one of his biggest challenges was finding a way to tell the story at an affordable budget, how the first cut of the film was three and a half hours, how they might include a number of deleted scenes on the Blu-ray, what he was nervous about before filming began, and so much more it would be impossible to list it all here.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

nordstrom-supper-suite-tiff-2019We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.

James Mangold:

  • Why did he want to make Ford v Ferrari?
  • One of the big challenges was finding a way to tell this story for under $100 million dollars.
  • How it’s extremely challenging to make a movie like this nowadays.
  • When he got into the editing room what was he excited about and what made him nervous?
  • ford-v-ferrari-matt-damon

    Image via 20th Century Fox

    How the first cut of the film was three and a half hours.

  • How he ended up cutting an hour from the film.
  • How the deleted scenes might end up on the Blu-ray.
  • How he was very happy with the film at 2hr 45min.
  • What was the last scene or two that he removed before locking the picture?
  • How he would call the movie a reverse Saving Private Ryan.
  • How did he work with second unit director Darrin Prescott to craft the driving scenes?
  • How Le Mans doesn’t exist the way it was back in the 60s so to recreate the race they had to film different parts of the race in various places.
  • What was he nervous about before filming began?
  • What not having small action scenes throughout the movie allowed him to do in the 3rd
  • What will he do next?


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