The story of Henry Ford II’s rivalry with Enzo Ferrari to dominate the sports car market during the 1960s was, at one point, going to get the old Hollywood copycat treatment. A couple years back, 20th Century Fox started development on Go Like Hell – which highlights Ford and Ferrari’s attempt to gain the upper hand on the other by winning big at the Le Mans track in 1966 – even as Paramount moved forward on a Ford/Ferrari project, with Brad Pitt lined up to star.
Fox and Paramount once discussed a team-up on the venture, but (in a fitting example of life-imitating-art-imitating-life) the studios decided to race one another to the finish line instead. We haven’t heard anything about Paramount’s Pitt vehicle (punt intended) since then, while Fox’s originally planned version of Go Like Hell – with Michael Mann (Collateral) directing from a script draft written by Jason Keller (Escape Plan) – likewise ended up falling by the wayside.
However, it looks as though the latter could end up being resurrected by a newly-established actor/director pair, which has begun to circle Paramount’s Go Like Hell (based on the non-fiction book written by A.J. Baime and published under the full title Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their Battle For Speed and Glory at Le Mans in 2010).
Deadline is reporting that Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski are eying Go Like Hell as their next collaboration, after having worked together on the post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Oblivion (which opened in theaters earlier this year). Cruise, if he signs on, would play the age-appropriate role of Henry Ford II, who was in his late 40s when he attempted to beat Ferrari at his own game by attempting to build an American automobile that could win in the world of European car racing. Ford II didn’t take on the challenge alone though, as he had assistance from Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca (now known for engineering the Ford Mustang and Ford Pinto), in addition to former racing champion-turned engineer Carroll Shelby (who worked on both the AC Cobra and Mustang-based vehicles).
Cruise and Kosinski’s collaborative effort with Oblivion – in addition to the pair having a screenplay co-written by Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Star Wars: Episode VII) to draw from – gave rise to a surprisingly thoughtful and character-focused sci-fi action/drama (read Screen Rant‘s official review). As such, there’s good reason to believe that a project along the lines of Go Like Hell could eventually become a movie that is both visually-intriguing and dramatically engaging – in their hands, anyway.
Moreover, Go Like Hell would provide Cruise with a chance to return to his pure drama roots from the 1990s, after having spent the past few years playing mostly unstoppable action hero types (or anti-hero, with Jack Reacher). The 51-year old superstar doesn’t intend to retire from saving the world soon – with his upcoming film slate including Mission: Impossible 5 and the Van Helsing reboot – which makes the ambitious everyman Henry Ford II all the more refreshing a change of pace for him (the same for Cruise’s fish out of water turn in next year’s sci-fi feature, Edge of Tomorrow).
However, even if Cruise and Kosinki sign on for Go Like Hell, it may take a while for the project to come together. In addition to Cruise having a full plate right now, Kosinski is also lined up to direct a new Twilight Zone movie, the followup to TRON: Legacy (a.k.a. TRON 3), a remake of the sci-fi cult classic The Black Hole and a mystery action-thriller based on his own idea. We’ll keep you posted on the situation as it develops.