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Michael Mann taps Christian Bale to play Enzo Ferrari in new biopic

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Christian Bale is notorious for his method acting, fully immersing himself in every role he plays. As such, he may just be the ideal choice to play Italian sports car magnate, and perfectionist extraordinaire Enzo Ferrari in the highly-anticipated Michael Mann biopic. Deadline reports that Bale has been tapped for the role, which will begin shooting next summer.

The film has reportedly been in the works for nearly 15 years, with the late Syndney Pollack at one point involved in the project, and Al Pacino set to star in the title role. Pollack sadly passed away in 2008. To say the film is a passion project would be an understatement.

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Set in 1957, the film will be based on the book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races, written by Brock Yates in 1991. It’s the product of a merging of two scripts, reports Variety: one written by Troy Kennedy Martin (The Italian Job) and another by David Rayfiend (Out of Africa). Both scripts are based on Yates’ original story. A female lead hasn’t yet been cast, but whoever gets the coveted role will be integral to the movie, which will include a love story as one of the central themes – Ferrari was married to his wife Laura until her death in 1978.

It should be a gripping story with Bale bringing his usual intensity to the role: Ferrari was a notoriously private man who seldom did interviews, and suffered a great loss when his only son with Laura, Alfredo (“Dino”) Ferarri, died from muscular dystrophy in 1956, just before the story picks up. His second son from an affair, Piero, still works for the storied motor company, serving as vice president.

Enzo Ferrari lived quite a long life and had a long career in the industry, passing away at the age of 90 in 1988 – right after the launch of the iconic F40 road car.

Mann is best known for his intense films like The Last of the Mohicans, Collateral, and Heat. His most recent project was this year’s hacker film Blackhat starring Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis, which bombed at the box office – hopefully this biopic will pull in much better numbers. Mann will be working on the film alongside Cecchi Gori Media.

The Ferrari movie is set to start filming next summer; a release date hasn’t yet been confirmed.