Throughout his career, Christian Bale has portrayed many real-life people, some long dead and some very much alive. There was John Rolfe in The New World, Dieter Dengler in Rescue Dawn, Dicky Eklund in The Fighter, and Dick Cheny in Vice. For his latest film Ford v Ferrari, Christian Bale once again portrays a real person in motorsport legend Ken Miles. In that role he received from help from Ken Miles’ real-life son, Peter. Speaking about collaborating with Christian Bale for Ford v Ferrari, Peter Miles said:
I gave Christian Bale info about my dad from press clippings and magazine articles, and I showed him personal photos and shared audio recordings with him. Bale was looking to remain as faithful as possible to my father. I also met Caitriona Balfe and gave her snapshots of my mother and described her as best as I could.
Unlike Dicky Eklund whom Christian Bale was able to get to know, or Dick Cheney, for whom there is a wealth of available footage upon which to base his performance, Ken Miles is no longer around and he wasn’t a public figure in a way that would have resulted in there being a lot of videos of him. So to assist Christian Bale in preparing for the role, Peter Miles helped the actor get to know who his father was.
As he told LeMans.org, Peter Miles shared what he could with the man who would play his father on the big screen. This included stuff like press clippings and magazine articles that may have been more publicly available, but could have also been difficult to find. Peter Miles also shared the more personal stuff, like family photos of his father and audio recordings.
The combination of all of these resources helped to paint a picture of who Ken Miles was, what he did, what he looked like, what he sounded like and his personality, thereby giving Christian Bale a basis for his performance in Ford v Ferrari. As you might expect, according to Peter Miles, the chameleon-like Christian Bale wanted to stay as faithful to Ken Miles as possible. So this collaboration with his son was likely very valuable.
The information from Peter Miles helped Christian Bale to become Ken Miles in Ford v Ferrari in all but one regard. The actor didn’t actually do any of the driving in the film. I guess Peter Miles couldn’t help with that, but Ken Miles’ son did also help out actress Caitriona Balfe, who plays his mother, Mollie Miles in the film.
He shared photos of his mother with the actress and told her about what she was like, to help give her an idea of who she was playing. Peter Miles doesn’t reveal whether or not he met with actor Noah Jupe, who plays him in the film to share what he was like when he was a kid. Regardless, the performances in the film are fantastic all around and Christian Bale will certainly be in the awards conversation for his role as Ken Miles.
Ford v Ferrari is now playing. To see what’s headed to theaters next year, check out our 2020 Release Schedule.