Neon has acquired the distribution rights to director Michael Mann’s anticipated biographical racing drama, Ferrari. The epic film, which stars Adam Driver in the titular role of the late Italian driver Enzo Ferrari, will be released in theaters on Christmas Day 2023, Variety is reporting.
Neon closed the acquisition of the movie in a highly competitive North American deal. A24 was amongst the other studios that were highly interested in acquiring the biopic.
Ferrari‘s theatrical release will come after it’s expected to make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. The drama’s one of the most eagerly awaited projects of the upcoming movie-awards season.
“Michael Man is one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers in American cinema, was moved by the power of this intensely dramatic story to persist for years to bring it to the big screen,” Neon CEO and founder Tom Quinn said about the helmer. “Ferrari reaffirms Neon’s continued commitment to supporting visionary auteurs who push the boundaries of cinema. Working with Michael Mann on Ferrari is a dream come true for Neon.”
Alongside Driver, Penélope Cruz plays the titular character’s wife, Laura Ferrari, in the biopic. The drama also stars Shailene Woodley as Ferrari’s mistress Lina Lardi, Jack O’Connell as Peter Collins, Sarah Gadon as Linda Christian, Patrick Dempsey as Piero Taruffi and Gabriel Leone as Alfonso De Portago.
Set during the summer of 1957, Ferrari follows the eponymous Formula 1 racer in crisis. Bankruptcy stalks the company he and Laura built from nothing 10 years earlier. Their tempestuous marriage struggles with the mourning for their only son, Dino, who died the year before at the age of 24. Enzo also struggles with the acknowledgement of his second son, 12-year-old Piero, who he had with his mistress.
Overall, Enzo’s drivers’ lust to win pushes them all out to the edge. He wagers all in a roll of the dice on one race, the treacherous 1,000-mile race across Italy, the iconic Mille Miglia.
The movie’s script was written by Troy Kennedy Martin (The Italian Job). The screenplay is based on Brock Yates’ 1991 book Enzo Ferrari: The Man and the Machine.
Mann shot much of Ferrari in Modena, Italy, where Ferrari was born and built his empire. The director is also producing the screen adaptation via his Moto Pictures banner alongside P.J. van Sandwijk and John Lesher, as well as Marie Savare, John Friedberg, Lars Sylvest, Thorsten Schumacher and Gareth West.
Neon acquired Ferrari after it released such successful awards-season movies as Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning Best Picture Parasite after it won the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 2019. The black comedy thriller kicked off a streak of four Palmes in a row for Neon, which was followed by Titane (2021), Triangle of Sadness (2022) and Anatomy of a Fall (2023).
Besides Ferrari, the indie distributor has also recently acquired Wim Wenders’ anthology film Perfect Days and Pablo Berger’s musical drama Robot Dreams from Cannes this year. Ferrari also joins such other Neon movies as Eileen, the Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie staring thriller from William Oldroyd that’s set to be released in Q4. The production company also released its acclaimed in-house sci-fi horror film, Infinity Pool, from Brandon Cronenberg in January.
The Ferrari deal was negotiated by Dan Friedkin, Ryan Friedkin and Quinn for Neon with CAA Media Finance and attorney Harold Brown of Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown on behalf of Mann.
The biopic will be distributed internationally through STX Entertainment and its partners. STX set up a lot of the financing to get the drama made. Bob Simonds, Sam Brown and Noah Fogelson are exec producers.
After releasing Ferrari, Mann and Driver are reuniting for Warner Bros.’ screen adaptation of Heat 2, which will be based on the filmmaker’s #1 NYT bestseller of the same name that was released last August. The novel is based on his seminal 1995 crime thriller movie, Heat. The actor is attached to portray a young version of Neil McCauley, the career thief played by Robert De Niro in the original film.