The teaser trailer for Michael Mann’s Enzo Ferrari biopic begins with a car speeding through the Italian countryside, and never really lets up from there. Ferrari stars Adam Driver as the titular Italian automotive innovator, while Penelope Cruz plays his wife, Laura Ferrari, and Shailene Woodley appears as his mistress, Lina Lardi.
The teaser has a loose narrative feel, recalling the work of Terrence Malick. Here, Mann feels more concerned with establishing mood than giving us concrete plot beats. We see Ferrari grappling with relationship troubles and grieving the loss of his son, Alfredo, who passed in 1956. Still, we do get multiple high-octane racing scenes, including one presumably through a fiery crash.
“To get into one of my cars, you get into it,” Driver’s Ferrari says in the teaser’s sole line of dialogue.
Ferrari is set in the summer of 1957, when Enzo is struggling to keep the company afloat amidst personal crises. He ultimately decides to go all in on the Mille Miglia, a notorious, dangerous race beginning and ending in the Italian city of Brescia and traveling through Rome.
In a Variety feature, Mann explained that he has been in pre-production on the ambitious biopic for 30 years, and that his fascination with the carmaker dates back to 1967 when he first glanced upon a Ferrari in the London Underground. Christian Bale was originally set to play the lead, but left the film in early 2016 due to health concerns related to the weight fluctuation needed to play Ferrari, and was replaced for a time by Hugh Jackman. (Bale wound up doing his own race car drama with the successful Ford v Ferrari, in which Enzo Ferrari was played by Italian character actor Remo Girone.)
Mann also spoke about the film’s lack of involvement with major movie studios at a time when the writer’s strike and SAG-AFTRA strike continue with no end in sight.
“The origins of the movie and the content of the screenplay and the movie that you saw do not fit into the kind of film that would be embraced by the conventional studio system,” Mann told Variety. “It’s truly appropriate that it is an independent film being distributed by Neon, a very independent distributor.”
Ferrari is based upon a biographical book by Brock Yates, and serves as the final work of screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin, who died in 2009. The movie will be released on December 25 after premiering at the Venice International Film Festival.