Hugh Jackman lining up to play Enzo Ferrari for Michael Mann biopic

Ben Arnold
Hugh Jackman (Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Hugh Jackman is edging closer to playing automotive icon Enzo Ferrari in a new biopic being made by acclaimed filmmaker Michael Mann.

According to Deadline, the Heat director's long-in-gestation passion project will be pitched at this year's Cannes Film Festival, taking place virtually this year, where it will be seeking distributors.

Cameras on Ferrari are set to roll in the spring of 2021.

Mann has been working on it for more than two decades, basing the drama on biography Enzo Ferrari – The Man And The Machine by Brock Yates, first published in 1992.

Mann told Deadline: “The real power of this piece is in the emotionally charged lives of these people in complex, extreme circumstances. In addition, there is the explosive power and lethal beauty of racing. It has a great drama at its core and that’s why Ferrari stayed with me.”

Italian entrepreneur and racing driver Enzo Ferrari getting out of a Ferrari car in 1966 (Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images)

It will follow the Italian motor racer turned entrepreneur during the turbulent events of the late 1950s.

Ferrari was facing bankruptcy amid a volatile marriage to wife Laura, as well as struggling with the death of his son Alfredo 'Dino' Ferrari, who had died of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in 1956, aged just 24.

The film also looks at the fierce rivalry between Ferrari and fellow Italian manufacturer Maserati.

Movie director John Frankenheimer, left, and Enzo Ferrari, right, at Monza, 1966. (Credit: AP-PHOTO/Armando Trovati)

Christian Bale was at one time attached to the movie (with Noomi Rapace as Laura Ferrari) but was said to have walked from the role due to the weight gain that was needed for it – though in the years since, he's taken on roles which have required him to significantly bulk out.

However, just last year, Bale did end up encountering Ferrari on screen, played by Remo Girone, in the movie Ford v Ferrari, directed by James Mangold.

That film detailed the attempt by Ford to trounce Ferrari at the Le Mans rally in 1966.