Jason Keller (‘Ford v Ferrari’ writer) on what compelled daredevil drivers to get behind the wheel of ‘death machines’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Ford v Ferrari” screenwriter Jason Keller was “fascinated with these real-life heroes and explorers that were at the center of this story.” When he started working on the script 10 years ago, his main goal was to understand “what compelled them to get into these cars that were at that time just death machines, and do it over and over and over again.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Keller above.

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The characters at the center of James Mangold‘s sports drama certainly are compelling figures. There’s Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), an ex-racer who’s drafted by Ford Motor Company to design a car that could beat Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans tournament. And then there’s Ken Miles (Christian Bale), the hotshot recruited to drive it. “Those two men were very different guys,” Keller explains. “In many ways, I think that they needed each other to succeed.”

The real Shelby was, as Keller describes him, “an impresario.” He was “a very talented driver” in his own right, but he truly excelled at “bringing other geniuses together to design and build cars. He had an eye on the marketplace, and he was a businessman.” But he was also savvy enough to know that “there was no way he was going to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish without Ken.”

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Miles, on the other hand, “was a virtuoso behind the wheel of a car, and a virtuoso designer and fabricator and mechanic. He was a purist,” so he wasn’t in it for the glory or the money. “In many ways, he wasn’t even doing it for the checkered flag, I think. He was doing it for the perfection of building a race car and driving it to its limit. That’s what Ken Miles was driven by. So you had these two guys who at many levels were diametrically different from one another, but needed one another to pull this thing off.”

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana (home of the Indy 500), Keller has also written films including “Machine Gun Preacher” (2011) and “Mirror, Mirror” (2012). He shares screenwriting credit on “Ford v Ferrari” with Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth.

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