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About The Production
FORD v FERRARI was filmed in the summer and early fall of 2018 in Southern California, Georgia, and Le Mans, France. Director James Mangold assembled a team of frequent collaborators to help him create his vision of the epic rivalry between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari and the scrappy team of upstarts that Ford hires to help him in his quest. The production also enlisted several consultants who had personal connections to the events in the film to add an extra level of authenticity; they included Charlie Agapiou, the former crew chief and chief mechanic for Shelby American, and Peter Miles.

Production designer François Audouy was tasked with recreating a variety of real-world places for the film from the Ford Motor Co. headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan to Shelby American's workshops in both Venice, Calif., and later, its expanded facility at the Los Angeles International Airport. Audouy previously worked with Mangold on projects including Logan and The Wolverine, and was excited to reunite with the filmmaker.

"Jim has a very strong vision of the story he is trying to tell," Audouy says. "His films are very much character driven. They're grounded in a filmmaking style that keeps you in the story. That means that the production design has to follow suit and be very much in sync with realism and plausibility and keeping the audience in the magic trick of this world that has been created."

Interestingly, virtually every sequence of FORD v FERRARI was shot on location. For early scenes set at the legendary Ford factory known as Ford River Rouge Complex, or just The Rouge, in Dearborn, Michigan, the production filmed inside a 100-year-old former steel factory in downtown Los Angeles. The 15,000-square-foot warehouse structure was outfitted with an assembly line and conveyor belt system to become the massive automobile plant where 1963 Ford Falcons are in the process of being assembled. The factory scenes required 20 Ford Falcons to be displayed in various states of completion.

Rather than build the Ford Falcons from scratch, picture car coordinator Rick Collins scoured Craigslist, eBay and other used car sites to purchase Ford Falcons from the era, and then either stripped the cars bare or refurbished the interior and exterior of the light blue vehicles to create the illusion they were brand new off the assembly line. "They're all real cars," Audouy say. "There's no fiberglass. They're all out of real metal, totally restored. Even the paint is the same paint that was used out of the Ford color book in 1963."

The exterior of the Ferrari factory and interiors of Enzo Ferrari's office were filmed at the Lanterman Development Facility in Pomona, Calif. Its exterior walls and inner courtyard closely matched the company's exterior facade in Maranello, Italy. The art department constructed an exact replica of Enzo Ferrari's office with windows overlooking the courtyard where two Ferraris are parked: a replica 1961 California Modena Spider and a real 1966 Silver Ferrari 275 GTB, borrowed from a local collector.

One of the iconic pieces of the Ferrari headquarters are its factory gates; for FORD v FERRARI, the film's design team built a replica of the gates on site. "They are like the King Kong or Jurassic Park gates," Audouy says. "You see those gates, and it just says 'Ferrari.'"

To recreate Shelby American, Inc.'s storied original location on Princeton Avenue in the beachside community of Venice, Calif., the production found a two-story brick warehouse with a courtyard in South Los Angeles' Chesterfield Square neighborhood. Set designers transported the vacant 12,000-square-foot structure back in time utilizing various pieces of car-shop dressing-jacks, monkey wrenches, car magazines-along with trophies, surfboards and bikes. To round out the décor, one dozen pre-1966 Shelby Cobra replicas, including an assortment of MKIs, MKIIs and Carroll Shelby's own personal Shelby Cobra roadster, were rented for the facility.

With the addition of the Shelby Mustang to his manufacturing lineup and an influx of resources from the Ford Motor Co., Carroll Shelby outgrew his original shop in Venice, and in 1965 moved his company and assembly line to a hangar facility at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where he produced some of automotive history's most famous sports and consumer cars. Over the course of nearly two weeks of filming, scenes set inside the Shelby LAX workshop and exterior tarmac were filmed at a California Air National Guard hangar located at Ontario International Airport, about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

When planes were not in use, the airport allowed filming on the tarmac, which served as Shelby's test track. "Not only did we find an incredible gigantic hangar that we transformed into an exact replica of Shelby's LAX hangar, but we also had access to the runway where we could take these race cars and capture what really happened at the beginning of Shelby when they were developing the GT40," Audouy says.

The trendy Highland Park neighborhood hosted scenes set at Ken Miles' house, garage and surrounding neighborhood. Over the course of two weeks of filming, a cozy two-bedroom bungalow from 1909 doubled as the home Ken Miles shares with his wife, Mollie, and their son, Peter. Miles' foreign automotive repair shop, Ken Miles Limited, was located across the street on Ave. 64 at the site of an existing auto body shop that the set designers took back in time. (Miles' former garage was originally located on Lankershim Boulevard in the east San Fernando Valley.)

Throughout, picture car coordinator Collins, whose previous credits include several films in the Fast & Furious franchise, First Man, Bright and Captain Marvel, among others, worked closely with production designer Audouy and his art directors to make sure the cars that were either built, borrowed or rented were exactly what was used back in the day. His team had to transport this massive assemblage of cars all over Southern California and to the film's second unit crew in Georgia.

Among the vintage cars glimpsed on screen is a one-of-a-kind polished aluminum Daytona Coupe, which cost $30,000 to rent, and is featured in the Shelby American LAX facility scenes. For Ken Miles' arrival in Le Mans, France, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest loaned the production several historical cars from their museum including a Ford GT40 MKI and an ultra-rare CD SP66 Peugeot. Only three CD SP66s still exist in the world.

Many of the film's race cars were manufactured by Superformance, a high-end collector car facility in Irvine, Calif., which specializes in "rolling chassis" replica and continuation cars from the 1960s. JPS Motorsports in North Hollywood built several Porsche Speedster replicas seen on screen in the early 1963 race sequence set at Willow Springs International Raceway at Willow Springs Motorsports Park in Rosamond, Calif., a 600-acre complex outside Los Angeles, in which Carroll Shelby and his racing team put their early-model AC Shelby Cobra up against their biggest competitor at the time, the Chevy Corvette. Collins' own longtime picture vehicle team at the film's car shop in Sylmar built Corvettes for those scenes. In all, 34 custom race cars were built for the film.

With so many prominent races featured in the film, distinguishing each sequence visually in a way that would help move the story forward became vitally important. Costume designer Daniel Orlandi, who, like Audouy, had worked with Mangold on Logan, extensively researched both the era and the world of racing to make sure his designs were historically correct. He also closely collaborated with Audouy to set up a color palette for each race. "We looked at footage of Le Mans in 1966, footage of Le Mans in 1959, footage of Willow Springs, and I read all the books about Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles," Orlandi says. "You can't do anything in a story about real people until you do a lot of research. You want to be as truthful as possible within the parameters of helping to tell the story."

For Shelby, the costume designer didn't feel that Matt Damon should go too big for his portrayal of the larger-than-life Texan who, in reality, was known for wearing signature striped bib overalls and a Stetson hat from his days as a farmer in the chicken business. "He could have had some of the more over-the-top stuff, but Matt really can act it," Orlandi says. "He doesn't need the costume to define the character and be so exaggerated. He does wear a cowboy hat, which Carroll Shelby wore a lot, but he wears it selectively in key scenes where it intentionally is supposed to seem a bit over-the-top along with his crocodile cowboy boots."

For his portrayal of the famously curly-headed car manufacturer, the 47-year-old actor had his hair colored-and he received his first perm. Hair department head Gloria Casny, another veteran of Logan, says that while the film takes place in the 1960s, she chose fairly cropped styles for all the men. "We erred on short and conservative, since the whole summer of love/Jim Morrison longer hair period didn't start until after the events in the film," she says.

"It was a very specific look-most of the men are very clean cut, have short sideburns, and very little facial hair," adds makeup department head Jane Galli whose collaborative relationship with Mangold dates to 1999's Oscar-winning drama Girl, Interrupted. In the makeup designer's early discussions with the director, they decided that the characters who spend their days on the race track should look like they lived their lives outdoors in extreme conditions. "Whether they're drivers or the pit crew, Jim always wanted them to look kind of sunburned, tanned, weathered, sweaty, greasy and dirty," Galli says.

In terms of costume, Miles spends much of his time wearing a racing suit and coveralls. "They refer to him as a beatnik, even though he never dressed as a beatnick," says Orlandi.

Since there are few photos of Ken's wife Mollie, the costume designer chose clothing that would suit Irish actress Caitriona Balfe, while realistically approximating the wardrobe of a mechanic's wife. She mostly wears old Wranglers from the 1960s and cotton sweaters or shirts.

By contrast, there were ample archival images of Henry Ford II available to create a full picture of the auto titan's fashion style. When it came to dressing the Deuce and his executive team, Orlandi drew inspiration from a project he did earlier in his career. "I remember doing a film a long time ago set in a big law firm and the director said he wanted them to look like a football team-when they come in, they're a block," Orlandi says. "We did that while giving each one their own personality."

The designer outfitted Ford himself in classic Brooks Brothers suits. "Old money, button-down shirts, blue blazer-it's recreating what they really wore," Orlandi says. "His clothes are very traditional. And he always wore navy blue with plain navy blue ties." Josh Lucas' character had a shadier color palette. "Leo Beebe, we played a little bit darker, a little bit oiler," Orlandi says. Jon Bernthal's Lee Iacocca was the flashiest exec on the team. "He's got a good shark skin suit, mohair suits, little slivery ties-ultra '60s."

Orlandi wanted there to be an immediate visual contrast between the Ford team and their counterparts at Ferrari. "Whereas the Ford executives are sort of cool-wearing blues, grays, silvers-the Ferrari people are more old world," Orlandi says. "Their wardrobe is primarily browns, creams, knit ties, vests." Orlandi compares the uniforms of the Ferrari factory workers, who wear jumpsuits and coveralls, to the Italian military. "We wanted that old-world style for Ferrari, and the space age 1960s for Ford."

Where the worlds collide is on the race track. One of the chief challenges in the whole of the production was devising the right way to film the various racing sequences that lead up to the climactic restaging of the 1966 running of Le Mans. Explains producer Jenno Topping: "One of the most challenging aspects of filming was that Jim was focused on infusing character into the driving moments so that audiences could identify and better relate to the story being told-it wasn't just who was winning."

Mangold and director of photography Phedon Papamichael-who previously worked together on five films including Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma, and Knight and Day-opted for a traditional approach that would support the storytelling; both the classic 1966 sports drama Grand Prix and Steve McQueen's 1971 film Le Mans served as references. "Our visual inspiration came more from the films of the '60s and '70s, rather than contemporary interpretations of race car films- no exaggerated movement, keeping it intimate with the use of close-ups and always maintaining a character's point-of-view," Papamichael says. "We tried to stick to camera techniques of the period."

To provide unique, close-up perspectives during the numerous racing sequences, Papamichael relied on specialty rigs and camera vehicles. "It was very difficult to shoot our cast going at correct race speeds," the cinematographer says. "We couldn't always travel at actual race-speed, and we didn't want to apply too much digital help. We tried to do as much in camera as we could, with hard mounts on the actual race cars. It just generates a much more realistic experience, as well as for the actors, who go through the G-forces and all the vibrations involved, which makes it so much easier to perform."

Many of the specialty tracking vehicles used to shoot the film's race sequences and capture the cars in motion were supplied and often driven by noted stunt driver Allan Padelford and his company, Allan Padelford Camera Cars, whose credits include Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, Baby Driver, the Fast & Furious films and Days of Thunder. Padelford won an Oscar for Technical Achievement in 2015 for his Biscuit Rig drivable camera and vehicle platform, which is featured extensively in FORD v FERRARI. Additional specialty camera mounts were also utilized, including telescopic cranes from CineMoves, SpaceCam gyro-stabilized heads and Oculus stabilized camera gimbals.

The most challenging sequence to capture by far was the restaging of the 1966 running of the 24 Hours at Le Mans race, which was a massive undertaking to stage and to shoot. "The last 40 minutes of the film is this race predominantly, and I really wanted you to feel like you were hunkered down and living in the race-I wanted that idea of racing for 24 hours to start to dawn on you, to feel what that really would be like trying to drive faster than any man for longer than you ever can stay awake," Mangold says.

For that 24-hour country road race, the behind-the-scenes team needed to find a countryside that looked like the Loire Valley region in France (a search that ultimately took them to rural towns in Georgia) as well as a place to erect the mammoth grandstands and pits at Le Mans. "It's something that took months and months of effort," Audouy says. "Picture cars had to be involved. Stunts had to be involved. Visual effects, pre-vis, storyboards-it was really a behemoth of a sequence. I can't think of another movie that has this sort of epic car race in it."

Although the 24 Hours of Le Mans is still an annual event in Le Mans, France, the current track no longer resembles its 1966 incarnation, so the entire course and grandstands had to be created from scratch. The dozens of race cars that competed at Le Mans are now priceless museum pieces or in private collections, and regularly fetch tens of millions of dollars at auction, so high-performance replicas had to be built.

Le Mans, the race track in France, still exists but not like it did," Mangold says. "Now it's a race track-it looks more like Charles de Gaulle Airport than what it once was, which was a homespun, very simple thing. It was a set of country roads connected up in a loop with a series of quaint grandstands. The magic of that, of driving 200 miles per hour in the most cutting-edge race-car prototypes on a series of French country roads over and over again through day, night, rain, sleet, dawn, dusk-doing that for 24 straight hours in one vehicle seemed like the most powerful thing we could try to convey."

The sequence featured the largest set constructed for the film: a full-scale historical recreation of the start- and finish-line grandstands for Le Mans, along with three large segments of additional grandstands, VIP boxes, the Ford and Ferrari pits, and the international press box, all of which was built at Agua Dulce Airpark. a private airport in Santa Clarita, Calif. The design was based on more than 300 archival photos from the era acquired from various sources including the Automobile Club of the West in France, the organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

No detail was too small for Audouy and his team of set designers and decorators, who created hundreds of pieces of period advertising, banners, race programs, stopwatches, drivers' helmets, spectator flags and even pit tools. "When you're telling a story like this, you're given the ability to recreate the world exactly as it was, to show the historical events looked at the time," Audouy says. "We have to be faithful to history in recreating the signage and details at the same scale, in the same colors, not changing anything."

While main unit filming was occurring in Southern California, a second unit action crew assembled in Georgia. Led by second unit director Darrin Prescott-who also plays racing legend Bob Bondurant in the film-stunt coordinator Nagle and a veritable army of stunt drivers piloting 30 Ford, Ferrari and Porsche race cars, the second unit shot many of the Le Mans racing scenes that take place along sections of the Circuit de la Sarthe, such as the Mulsanne Straight, Mulsanne Hairpin, Tertre Rouge, the Esses, White House, Arnage Corner and Dunlop Bridge.

Three locations in Georgia were used to portray the country road course in 1966, including a stretch of Route 46 in Statesboro, the Grand Prize of America Race Track in Hutchinson Island and Road Atlanta in Braselton. Over five miles of roads in these three Georgia cities were dressed to recreate the Circuit de la Sarthe, with hundreds of period-correct banners to line the racetracks.

"Every moment of the race has a point, so there's a lot of pressure there," says Prescott, whose credits include such films as Baby Driver, Captain America: Civil War, Drive, and his Screen Actors Guild award-winning car chase work in The Bourne Ultimatum. "Jim's mandate was that he didn't want it to be a big car commercial. He didn't want beauty shots. He wanted to really get in there and feel like we were shooting this kind of vintage style. We knew we'd have to hire the best drivers in the world and let them drive at 140 miles per hour."

That commitment to capturing the real experiences that Shelby and Miles faced during their extraordinary partnership was something that deeply resonated with the actors, and every member of the filmmaking team. In the end, writer-director Mangold hopes that the passion the cast and crew poured into making FORD v FERRARI serves as a fitting tribute to the courage and conviction of the characters the film celebrates. "I hope people walk away loving these guys, celebrating their commitment to one another and to their craft, and remembering a different kind of American man and hero," says producer Topping.

Notes Mangold: "This isn't Carroll Shelby's whole story or Ken Miles' whole story. This is about a hugely defining moment in their lives that shaped all they were to be. People really connect with this idea of trying to do an excellent job at whatever your job is with the challenge of dealing with oversight and corporate management and the corporate tendency to round every corner that's a little sharp and to soften any blow that could offend somebody. I think we all miss the world when it was just a little more raw and prone to taking a risk."

Adds Bale: "The reason the story is so legendary is because these misfits challenged God and won, didn't they? God was Ferrari. He was a monster, a Goliath of reputation and style, legendary in the racing community. And this little band of misfits, with Ford's backing but in spite of Ford's interference, they did it."


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