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‘Ford v. Ferrari’: Christian Bale and Matt Damon Surprise With Thrilling, High-Octane First Footage

CinemaCon: James Mangold's latest is new to the Disney catalogue, but its first trailer makes it clear why the studio seems high on it awards possibilities.

Matt Damon and Christian Bale

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As Disney and Fox continue to navigate a still very fresh partnership, Wednesday afternoon’s CinemaCon presentation offered first looks at a handful of films that will now be released under the Disney banner, former Fox properties that have found themselves an unexpected new home. That means that, tucked alongside major tentpole offerings and an increasingly impressive series of live-action remakes, there now live movies like James Mangold’s fact-based racing drama. It’s a new world for everyone, it seems.

Based on A.J. Baime’s book “Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed,” the film has been through various incarnations over the years, and was at one point to be directed by Michael Mann, before being kicked over to Joseph Kosinski with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise starring. Now, the film stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale, and its take on the wild true story of Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari facing off to build a “perfect” car and win the famed Le Mans race in 1966 looks like a real contender.

The film features Damon as the famed engineer Carroll Shelby, tasked with building a high-speed and ultra-light competition car that could finally best Ford’s European rival. Bale, who got back down to his skinny side for the role post-“Vice,” is on deck as the driver Ken Miles, who comes on board to help Shelby with what seems like an impossible task.

In introducing a first look to the CinemaCon crowd, Fox Film vice chairman Emma Watts called the thrilling-looking bio-drama “an endangered species” and an example of what happens “when we dream the impossible, and then simply made it happen.”

The battle between Ford and Ferrari is only part of the picture, as a thrilling and high-energy trailer shown only to the CinemaCon crowd also showed off Shelby’s own battles with Ford, Miles’ battles with just about everyone, and everyone else’s terrible fights with nearly every car Shelby managed to build. Packed with racing drama, some full-throttle performances, and at least one scene of Ford (Tracy Letts) crying, it looked good enough to overcome the tired use of “Gimme Shelter” as a trailer song.

And Disney seems high on it, too: it’s landed a prime November awards slot.

The film also stars Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, and Noah Jupe. Walt Disney Pictures will release “Ford v. Ferrari” on November 15, 2019. Check out reactions to the footage below.

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