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Why the Unmade Version of ‘Ford v Ferrari’ with Pitt and Cruise Never Happened

"Top Gun: Maverick" director Joseph Kosinski was originally set to direct the project that became Oscar winner "Ford v Ferrari," titled "Go Like Hell."

Christian Bale and Matt Damon in Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V. FERRARI.

Christian Bale and Matt Damon in “Ford v Ferrari”

Merrick Morton

The road to “Ford v Ferrari,” the double-Oscar-winning racing drama starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, was a long one. The project dates back to 2013, when “Top Gun: Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski was attached to lead movie, then called “Go Like Hell” from a book by A.J. Baime. As discussed in a Comic-Con at Home panel hosted by Collider, Kosinski got pretty close to starting the movie, which centers on the saga of American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles in 1966, with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Until things, as they do in Hollywood, fell apart.

“I wouldn’t say we got close to production, but I got to the point where I had Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt at a table read, reading the script together. But we couldn’t get the budget to the number it had to be at, and it was the right number. So that was the one for me that got away. But I was thrilled to see that they ended up making an amazing version of it,” Kosinski said. Cruise would have played Shelby, opposite Pitt as Miles. At one point before Kosinski, Michael Mann was reportedly attached to direct the movie. (Mann is currently working on his own Enzo Ferrari biopic with Hugh Jackman.)

Kosinski said he is indeed a fan of the finished product, which netted more than $225 million globally. “The script was the same, and I think [Mangold’s] approach was generally how I was going to do it, which was real cars, real racing — obviously, making it with Tom, that’s the only way that it would be made. In some ways, what we did for ‘Top Gun,’ we were going to do for car racing with mounted cameras and all that,” Kosinski said. “I thought [Mangold] did an excellent version and I thought Christian Bale and Matt Damon nailed the characters, so that was a case where you go in going, ‘God, I hope this is good because I love the story so much.’ I actually saw it with Tom and we were both thrilled when we saw it. It’s a weird thing to see someone make a movie of something that you had kind of got close to making, but they did an amazing job with it.”

Konsinski’s new “Top Gun” film just got pushed by Paramount Pictures to July 2, 2021.

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