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Hugh Jackman to play Ferrari inventor

CEBU, Philippines - Fresh from playing an ageing mutant in the movie “Logan,” versatile actor Hugh Jackman is all set to play Enzo Ferrari, the creator of the iconic Italian sports car, Ferrari.

The movie will be directed by Michael Mann, whose films mostly feature highly-gifted male protagonists who struggle to harmonize their mental lives with the demands of the material world.

Mann has been fascinated with Enzo Ferrari for a long time, and has been working on a script for the famed car inventor for almost 17 years in between projects. It was originally a partnership between him and Sydney Pollack, who died in 2008.

During those years, he has been struggling to find the right actor to play the titular role. Christian Bale almost snagged the role, but reportedly had to quit. He was worried he wouldn’t pack in enough pounds before the production starts early this year.

But now, it looks like Jackman will take on the challenge of portraying this enigmatic, extremely flawed, yet brilliant car designer. Noomi Rapace, famous for portraying Lisbeth Sander in the Swedish film adaptations of the Millenium Series, is reportedly going to play Enzo’s alienated wife, Linda Ferrari.

Mann’s Ferrari is based on Brock Yates’ book “Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races.”

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The story will take place in 1957, a year after the couple’s son, Alfredo, died from Muscular Dystrophy. It was also that year when Ferrari was charged with manslaughter for the tragic death of Spanish driver Alfonso De Portago in the Mille Miglia race. During the race, his tire blew out, and caused his Ferrari 335S to spin into the crowd lining the highway. The crash also killed nine spectators, among them five children.

The biopic will also revolve heavily around Ferrari and his wife’s relationship, who remained legally married until her death in 1978.

Yates’ book description reads: “To his legion of admirers, Italian auto titan Enzo Ferrari (1898-1988) was a genius who personally created marvelous cars of advanced design. But as Car and Driver columnist Yates points out in this captivating, demythologizing biography, none of Ferrari’s racing cars ‘was a glittering example of daring technology,’ and he had almost no hand in the making of the later road cars that bore his name.”

“Revealed as a hot-tempered megalomaniac given to loud belching and countless amorous conquests, Ferrari fathered an illegitimate child and led a shadowy second life as a respite from the ‘simmering hatred’ of his marriage. He portrayed himself as a loyal ‘motorized knight-errant,’ defending Italy’s national honor, but in Yates’s estimate, he was interested solely in winning races and sometimes pushed his drivers to dangerous extremes. Yates deftly records the carnage of major races, business wheeling and dealing, and the political dimensions of motor racing from the pre-WW II Rome-Berlin Axis to today’s ribbon-waving nationalism.”

Interestingly, Robert de Niro, who was once approached to play Ferrari for Mann back in 1993, is reportedly set to play Enzo Ferrari in yet another rival film, according to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero.

Producer Gianni Bozzacchi said that they’re looking at Clint Eastwood to possibly direct the movie. So far, no reports have been released on whether this film will push through or not.

Ferrari was last portrayed by Augusto Dall’ara in the 2013 film, “Rush,” and focused on the intense competition between Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The film showed Ferrari reading a newspaper during an F1 race. (FREEMAN)

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