5 things to know about Le Mans '66, according to Matt Damon and Christian Bale
We speak to the stars of the Oscar nominated car epic...
Le Mans '66 was one of the surprise successes last year. It was a surprise because it was one of the rare non-franchise films that managed to bring in brilliant box office, while not setting up a superhero sequel.
It's a great movie that features heart-thumping race scenes and a lovely power play between the corporate suits and the drivers and mechanics of the cars hoping to bring both Ford and Ferrari glory at one of the hardest races on earth, the 24 hour Le Mans championship.
Directed by James Mangold, whose stock has risen recently after rumours he is to direct the next Indiana Jones movie, Le Mans '66 follows the real-life tale of two characters, Ken Miles (Christian Bale) and Carroll Shelby (Matt Damond) who helped Ford try and attain an impossible dream, winning Le Mans - a race that had been dominated by the coolness of Italian car maker Ferrari.
We spoke to Mangold last year and he said he couldn't see anyone else but Damon and Bale in these roles - watch the movie and you will agree.
We caught up with Bale and Damon and they gave us 5 things to know about Le Mans '66, including Bales' admittance that, despite ace-ing the 'real' racing scenes, he'd rather leave the cars to the pros...
Le Mans ’66 is available to own on DVD and Blu-ray now.
1. Hollywood had been trying to make the movie for a decade
Matt Damon: “There had been different iterations of this [project] around for about 10 years, so I was familiar with the story. But it wasn’t until I read this version, with this group of people, like Jim [Mangold] and Christian, attached that I got really sold. So, then I really started to watch documentaries about Shelby and reading about him. I also talked to a lot of people because a lot of people knew him socially – he cut quite a figure out here in LA! And put it this way: he was described to me, by many people, as a man who could sell you anything.”
2. Some of the real-life race drivers were played by their sons
3. Bale would rather leave the driving to the professionals
4. Bale thinks he finally understands what made driver Ken Miles tick
Christian Bale: “In my amateur assessment Ken is sort of reaching for the truth. The truth about himself. The dynamic and the very raw, mechanical man and machine – this purity that was in his life. It was both his Achilles heel and his saving grace.
"It’s what made him, what made him so absolutely brilliant, but also what made people nervous of him, and generally stopped people from hiring him. Ken was always losing out to younger, better-looking men, but spent his career looking at all these guys in his rear-view mirror in the actual races. That [the importance of image and towing the corporate line] is all very much still in play today – in that juggernaut of business. Even more so now. It’s a massive industry, and they need to sell.
5. Le Mans '66 isn’t about racing, but underdogs
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