If you haven’t seen the Ford v Ferrari movie yet, we’re surprised you are still here and not enjoying it on now-available digital download. The Academy Award-nominated movie not only has the star power to make it a smash hit, but it might become the highest-grossing racing movie of all time.
We sat down during the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with key players from the film, including the Ford v Ferrari stunt coordinator, stunt driver, and several notable racers like Hurley Haywood, Scott Pruett, and the legendary Roger Bailey. We couldn’t think of a better event to discuss the Ford v Ferrari film’s digital release and upcoming BluRay and DVD on-sale date for those looking to hold on to the memories of one unforgettable Matt Damon and Christian Bale motorsport masterpiece.
As the Rolex 24 race raged on outside our conference room, we took a few hours out of the 24 of this premier American endurance race to talk to these living legends. And of course, as racing fanatics, the TURNology team asked the right questions to really get a feel for the story behind the Hollywood glam about how the stunts, precision driving, and historical facts make this racing flick one of the benchmarks for our generation.
Motor racing in the 1960s bred some of the most important and most valuable race cars ever produced, just like those in the film. During our rapid-fire interviews, we learned that the value of all the classic race cars in the scene filmed inside Scuderia Ferrari was more than the budget of the film itself. Bust out that fact at the next track day!
We cornered Stunt Coordinator Robert Nagle and one of the drivers on the Ford v Ferrari film, Jeff Bucknum (yes, that Bucknum), the son of race car driver Ronnie Bucknum who drove the No. 5 GT40 in the 1966 Le Mans 24h race. Nagle has been the stunt lead on a few films with wild driving sequences such as Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming, John Wick 2, Mission Impossible, and Captain Marvel. Nagle gave us an inside look at how the film came together since the entire movie was driving-centric and not just related to a few scenes.
Christian Bale was a fantastic driver and, hands down, the best actor I have given driving instruction to. — Stunt Coordinator, Robert Nagle
“The hardest scenes in the movie were when the cars were flying through the air and tumbling,“ says Nagle. “It was very challenging to get the timing right, and have the rest of the traffic in the right spot, take after take, to hit their mark.”
How did this translate to the dozens of stunt drivers on set? Well, we questioned Jeff Bucknum, who had an extremely important connection to the film. As mentioned above, his father Ronnie was the co-driver of the Holman Moody Ford GT40, the No.5 car that placed Third crossing the finish line in the legendary scene that saw Bruce McLaren ironically take the win.
“I drove six cars in the movie, but driver Tanner Foust and Robert Nagle were gracious enough to allow me to drive my Dad’s replica car in the movie,” says Bucknum. “And I took some liberties during filming since we did a lot of driving.
“When we did the finish line scene, my Dad’s car actually came in Third, but I joked to the stunt team that I was gonna gas it and place first for his memory. So, I did just that on the first take, even though the director was yelling ‘cut.’ It was a very emotional moment for me. But, it was important to put all that emotion into the driving scenes I was part of since the last time I raced was 2012, so it meant a lot.”
“Christian Bale was a fantastic driver and, hands down, the best actor I have given driving instruction to,” says Nagle. “I took him down to the Bob Bondurant driving school to train, but also to talk with Bob since he knew Ken Miles very well. His aptitude was phenomenal, learning the craft and diving into that role behind the wheel.”
There were a few seasoned racers on-hand to quiz about how their input in the film and the outcome of Ford v Ferrari lined up. CART and IMSA racer Scott Pruett was there, as was five-time winner of the Rolex 24 and three-time Le Mans winner Hurley Haywood, along with a man who was actually involved in the 1966 Le Mans race, Roger Bailey.
We asked them about the integrity of the film and the dedication to documenting the significant war between Ford in the USA with the Italians at Ferrari after a business deal went south.
They unanimously agreed there were a handful of inconsistencies like the yellow lines on the Circuit de la Sarthe (there are none) or giving the illusion that they were racing around planes in GT40s on the tarmac at Shelby American headquarters (they didn’t). However, all of the racers “loved the movie” and said it was only a natural dose of Hollywood entertainment, which was needed to create an entertaining movie.
Ford v Ferrari is a solid racing effort, and after meeting with the crew and these racing legends, it leaves us wanting to see it again. Luckily, the movie just released on 4K digital download on popular services like Google Play and Apple iTunes, but a hardcopy on BluRay or DVD is coming February 11.
Until then, we know how they made it all happen and put a monumental effort out to recreate the 1960s Le Mans drama using old school tech without the aid of computer graphics.
The Ford v Ferrari movie has also been nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Editing. We will see if a ‘Dad Drama’ racing flick actually gets some recognition at the Academy Awards February 9th.