Michael Mann Recorded Actual Sounds of Vintage Racecars for ‘Ferrari’ — Including Pink Floyd Drummer Nick Mason’s Maserati
ManOfTheCenturyMovie News Michael Mann Recorded Actual Sounds of Vintage Racecars for ‘Ferrari’ — Including Pink Floyd Drummer Nick Mason’s Maserati

Michael Mann Recorded Actual Sounds of Vintage Racecars for ‘Ferrari’ — Including Pink Floyd Drummer Nick Mason’s Maserati



Michael Mann Recorded Actual Sounds of Vintage Racecars for ‘Ferrari’ — Including Pink Floyd Drummer Nick Mason’s Maserati

Thanks to a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement, Michael Mann’s “Ferrari” (Neon, STX) is among the indie, AMPTP-less productions able to bring its director, cast, and crew to the Venice Film Festival.

The moment-in-time biography about ex-racer and automaker Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) as he prepares his financially bleeding company for the 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race across Italy screened Tuesday morning in the Sala Darsena before tonight’s world premiere. Mann and Driver were joined by actor Patrick Dempsey (who plays racer Piero Taruffi), cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, and more at the post-screening press conference. (Penélope Cruz, who plays Enzo’s jilted wife Laura, did not attend due to a personal matter.)

“His story is so profoundly human and when you encounter a character as dynamic as he is, as operatic as he is, the more specifically you get into the man, the deeper you dive, the more universal it becomes, and I found that the way so many parts of him were in opposition to each other, his life resonated with, for me, the way life is, so either it’s melodramatic and profound or I am in fact as oppositional as he is. I don’t know,” Mann, directing his first feature since 2015’s “Blackhat,” said when asked why he wanted to make the film as early as over two decades ago.

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“His internal engine was very much driven by grief, and the diference with his relationship with Laura vs. (his mistress) Lina Lardi vs. his mother, it all seemed like a subject I didn’t know much about, and it seemed daunting and exciting, and with Michael being the person you’re doing it for, it seemed like a no-brainer to me,” Driver said of taking on the role of Enzo.

“Biopics to me are linear and shown on the History Channel, so they’re documentaries, and I’m not interested in that at all. Making somebody come alive as melodramatic and operatic as Enzo was (…) to me is a drama better than anything I could make up,” Mann said of choosing to focus the film specifically in 1957 Modena around the Mille Miglia race. As the film’s climax shows, 11 people were killed when a Ferrari 335 S driven by Spanish racer Alfonso de Portago (Gabriel Leone) and navigator Edmund Nelson (Erik Haugen) collided with roadside nine spectators in the village of Guidizzolo.

VENICE, ITALY - AUGUST 31: (L-R) Patrick Dempsey, Daniela Piperno, director Michael Mann and Adam Driver attend a photocall for the movie
Patrick Dempsey, Daniela Piperno, director Michael Mann and Adam Driver attend a photocall for “Ferrari.” (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)Getty Images

Mann and his crew were committed to historical realism as much as possible in terms of recreating period cars and recording their sounds — which Mann called “beautiful and threatening and savage and emotional.”

He said, “The sounds you’re hearing are actually the sounds of those real cars. For example, the Maserati single seater that (racer Jean) Behra drives is historical. It’s owned by Nick Mason, the drummer from Pink Floyd, and we recorded at the time but then we went back about seven or eight weeks ago and laoded that car up with seven or eight microphones and rerecorded it.”

Mann also dug into the technology behind crafting replicas of the cars featured in the Mille Miglia 1957 race, in which Ferrari’s drivers, including winner Taruffi, competed against Maserati. “The cars started by us making a three-dimensional LiDAR scan of actual cars. Tonight, you’ll see the actual car that Taruffi won the race in on the red carpet — the real car, not the ones we built. We took that LiDAR and put it in a CAD computer program and then custom-designed a tubular frame, a chassis, and then had a Caterham four-cylinder Twin Cam (motorcycle) engine driving it, so the cars are actual perfect replicas of the real Ferraris and Maseratis.”

While real-life racing driver Dempsey got behind the wheel during production, no, Adam Driver never actually drove a Ferrari on set. “They wouldn’t let me drive the cars for insurance reasons (…) They don’t trust me with small pieces of equipment. Big pieces of equipment like sandwiches they’ll let me handle.” In pre-production, though, the cast practiced by racing modern Ferraris.

Adam Driver, Ferrari
“Ferrari” Courtesy Neon

“The mindset of racing cars in pre-production with Ferraris (…) you become painfully aware, it’s the opposite of escapism, it’s absolutely focused on the mindset of what’s happening right now. There’s no room for daydreaming or losing focus in attention, because you’ll crash obviously,” Driver said. “The mindset was helpful in playing the character. It’s impulsive. It’s pre-psychology. He’s making decisions in a vacuum.”

Inevitably, Driver and Mann were also asked for their take on the ongoing strikes, with Driver specifically calling out AMPTP figureheads Amazon and Netflix for so far being unwilling to meet the demands of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA.

“I’m very proud to be here to be a visual representation of a movie that’s not part of the AMPTP and to promote the SAG leadership directive which is an effective tactic which is the interim agreement,” Driver said. “Why is it that a smaller distribution company like Neon and STX International can meet the dream demands of what SAG is asking for, the dream version of SAG’s wishlist, but a big company like Netflix and Amazon can’t?”

He added, “Every time people from SAG go and support a movie that has met the terms of the interim agreement, it just makes it more obvious that these people are willing to support the people that they collaborate with — and the others are not.”

“No big studio wrote us a check. And that’s why we’re here, standing in solidarity,” Mann said.

“Ferrari” world premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. It will play the New York Film Festival before Neon releases “Ferrari” this Christmas.

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