Both Matt Damon and Christian Bale drove at death-defying speeds on screen once or twice – Damon, most notably, like super spy Jason Bourne, and Bale, of course, behind the wheel of the Batmobile. But in their personal lives, neither of them would describe themselves as crazy by car.
Indeed, when director James Mangold first approached them about starring in the new high-octane drama “Ford v Ferrari” – which tells how the serious Ford Motor Co. tried to topple the perennial dominant Ferrari in the Le Mans race of 1966 – Actor was aware of real life history. But in the history of the sometimes turbulent partnership between pioneering automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and British independent driver Ken Miles (Bale), the two saw an exciting opportunity not only to share the screen for the first time but to offer the kind. A great and fun adult movie that used to be one of the pillars of Hollywood and is now a rarity.
"I don't think you even have to care about cars," says Bale. "Everyone can relate to history in terms of their passion for something they want to do with their lives and the obstacles that stand in their way, either from outside sources or from demons in themselves."
With "Ford x Ferrari" approaching theaters across the country this weekend, The Times spoke with Damon, 49, and Bale, 45, about working together, the death of mid-adult drama, and career roads. sockets.
Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby on the left, and Christian Bale as Ken Miles in "Ford vs. Ferrari".
You've never been together in a movie before, but I'm sure you must have played some of the same roles over the years.
Burden: Look, I took on a lot of roles he went through.
Damon: Not much – two I can think of, including one (the 2010 drama), “The Fighter,” for which he won an Oscar, which is always proof that the right actor gets the job. I looked at the following: "Man, he's fantastic in this movie."
Burden: (Ironically) But it has not been the other way around. I never passed anything that Matt got. This is not just the order that goes.
Entering, what were your expectations about what it would be like to work with each other?
Damon: I talked to actors who worked with him and we also have our agent, Patrick (Whitesell), in common, so I had a pretty good idea what it would be like to work. When you look at Christian on the first day of filming, as an actor, it's really inspiring because you're looking at thousands of hours of preparation. He never talks about it and never does much about it, but you can see the meticulous attention to detail in everything he is doing. You are looking for a fully built engine, and it is amazing.
Burden: Thank you sir. For my part, I don't have many friends and people don't talk to me, so no one really told me what it was like to work with Matt. (laughs) But I admire him a lot for years.
In this movie, they talk about the injustice that the best drivers don't always get the best shows. And I remember before Matt became incredibly known, I saw him in (School Dies, 1992 drama), and that's what I was thinking. I said, "Look at that guy, whatever he is, he's too good and will probably never go back to work in his life. There is the injustice of it all." And he made it all work for himself.
Jon Bernthal at the front as Lee Iacocca in "Ford vs. Ferrari".
(Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox)
While “Ford vs. Ferrari” is about motorsport, it can also be seen as an allegory for the film business, with lawsuits trying to control artists at risk and pushing boundaries. Did you see it that way?
Damon: It is like an individual parallel. We laughed at it even when we did. (Vice President of 20th Century Fox and Production President) Emma Watts visited the set and she was "the suit" and was talking about it too. That is exactly The movie business. We want to make these things extraordinarily expensive and they are betting on us, and there is always this tension. We are investing our careers, our lives and our time, and they are investing a lot of money. The stakes are high for everyone.
Although there is usually less risk of dying making a movie.
Burden: (impassive) Only career suicide.
The release of Ford v Ferrari sparked a lot of talk about how this kind of movie became an endangered species. James Mangold said his agent told him, "You better enjoy this one because it's the last one you'll ever be able to do." Also what did you think?
Burden: Yes, but I approach all movies this way. I know what they mean, this is a specific kind of movie that's not being produced, but I look at each movie and say, "Okay, that's it. No one is hiring me after this one." And I like it a lot. of this approach.
As business has changed, has it become harder to find projects that really excite you?
Damon: Yes, this $ 20 million to $ 70 million movie is gone. I mean you can find it, but it's the exception. It's just because there is no DVD market, so you need to do everything in your theatrical release. I remember during (the 2015 science fiction movie) “The Martian,” I told (then Fox president) Jim Gianopulos: “What are the real numbers with the DVD market?” And he said, “Half. Half the recipe is gone. Business was cut in half. So there is no way they can make these movies.
But what happened is that this new market has appeared, which is the international market – mainly China. So the big success of the studios now is the movie with the least amount of cultural confusion, the least amount of language. It's a superhero movie: a good guy and a bad guy, it's very clear who's who, they fight three times and the good guy wins twice.
This is the model and it is working, and that is what they are doing. And our bread and butter for our entire career has been the movie that's gone now.
Burden: I will be able to comment further on this when my children start letting me watch movies again. I don't see much or, when I see it, I have my son climbing on me and I see, like, 10 minutes and then I have to do something else. In fact, I think "Avatar" may be the last movie I came out and saw.
Damon: (wincing) Why do you want to bring This one above? (Ed. Note: Damon recently revealed that he turned down director James Cameron's 2009 successmissing a big payday)
Burden: Oh, sorry about that. I totally forgot. I heard it went very well. (laughs)
Damon: (silently) Yes.
Christian Bale, left, and Matt Damon star in "Ford vs. Ferrari" for the first time.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
So if your bread and butter are disappearing, what do you do? Do you think about switching to TV?
Damon: Look, we have to do this one, and I'm going to make a movie with Spotlight director Tom McCarthy, and Christian is about to work with David O. Russell. There are things that are done. We will probably work less often. Maybe there is something on the TV. I am not averse to the idea of doing a limited series. It's basically like making a long movie.
I don't know what will happen. But for now we have jobs, so that's good.
Burden: The only thing we have any idea of control over is the process. Chances are always against a movie that really comes out as something you expected it to be. The only control I have – and it's a very limited amount of control – is the process that day.
So for me, in terms of the pleasure of creativity I get – yes, there is a fantastic TV. It does not matter to me. This process is the same. Would I miss the community experience of watching something on a movie screen? I hope I never have to say that, because that's a wonderful feeling.
We are in this very polarized and angry political climate today, and this is a film about what teamwork and an upbeat and capable spirit can do. When you were making the movie, were you wondering how this kind of story would resonate with today's audience?
Damon: Yes, maybe subconsciously. It's a story we wanted to tell. It's a good story to spread and it's certainly a good break from the whole division.
Burden: I think it's more in your answer to that, though. I think if we set out to say, "Let's make a movie that goes against division" – then you're dead in the water from the start. We have to be more shortsighted than that and just say, "There's something great here, even if we can't identify what it is."
This is part of what I love about movies. Yes, we did it, but you say what it is. Whatever the public says, they are right. They have it. So if your answer is, "This is the movie I need now," then wonderful.