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How much race car driving did Christian Bale actually get to do for Ford v Ferrari? Bale plays British World War II veteran/professional driver Ken Miles in the sports drama, which is based on a true story. Bale lost about 70 pounds for the role, but that doesn't mean he went so Method he became a professional race car driver and was given the keys to the kingdom.
Ford v Ferrari producer Peter Chernin was asked how much driving Christian Bale is actually doing himself in this movie. Here's Chernin's response:
He is doing very little driving. [Laughter] He is driving to work in the morning.
At least preserve the mystery, man! But, yeah, there are only so many stunts actors would be allowed to do, and I can imagine insurance issues, as well as just practical issues, would lead a movie like Ford v Ferrari to look to professionals for the major driving scenes. And are we sure Christian Bale even drove himself to work in the morning or was he picked up and brought to set?
You may or may not have read that both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise were once attached to Ford v Ferrari. During THR's Producer Roundtable discussion, Peter Chernin said the movie was in development about 15 years, so there were many changes. That came up when Once Upon a Time in Hollywood producer David Heyman jumped in to talk about Brad Pitt driving in Quentin Tarantino's movie:
Funny enough, driving is a big part of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and we watched quite a lot of films about Los Angeles in 1969 of driving shots. But I think Brad [Pitt] loved driving along Hollywood Boulevard and the freeway filled with cars from 1969, being able to go at [it] much faster than he would be normally.
Sounds like that much driving is OK for an actor on set -- and let's be honest, if Tom Cruise were on set for Ford v Ferrari he'd insist on doing a lot of the driving himself, even if he ended up with injuries. But Ford v Ferrari had some tricky racing scenes, as Peter Chernin explained, and just choreographing them was the biggest challenge of the film:
The thing that was crazily challenging is those race scenes. We shot in four different locations at different times, months apart. Le Mans doesn't look anything today like what it looked like, so we had an idea of how to re-create the race track. We built the grandstands in an airport up in Santa Clara. But we shot two of the turns in Georgia. And we were shooting them months apart with different cars, so it was incredibly complicated to just get the choreography of the race going.
Ford v Ferrari took pains to match history as much as possible, although certain things were changed from the real story. Fans have really taken to the movie, giving Christian Bale and Matt Damon rave reviews and launching the film to #1 at the box office in its opening last weekend. It's going to have to pump the brakes this weekend, though, for Frozen II and company. But Ford v Ferrari will still be in theaters if you want to check it out.