James Mangold doesn't want to get pigeonholed in Hollywood

Updated: 27 November, 2019 12:39 IST | IANS | Los Angeles

wants to go to unexplored zones with his projects, and that's what James Mangold made him make his latest Ford v Ferrari.

James Mangold
James Mangold

Filmmaker James Mangold, known for making films like "Knight and Day", "The Wolverine" and "Logan", says the most dangerous thing for a director is to get boxed in. He wants to go to unexplored zones with his projects, and that's what made him make his latest "Ford v Ferrari".

"Movies have become such a commodity, and sometimes they feel like that. The efforts to affect you or excite you feel like pre-set buttons getting pressed on a synthesizer. I'm interested in making something come to life so it feels like, 'I'm not sure where this thing is going…!' That excitement of watching a film and not knowing how it's going to play, that's what I'm interested in," Mangold said.

"I'm very interested in the muscularity and masculinity of Westerns. They have the ability to be tender in ways that action films in the modern-day don't. (Modern) movies have become so orientated towards 14-year-olds," he added. The director says he doesn't "have a theme that I'm carrying up a hill".

"I'm not sure it's healthy that I know why I'm attracted to projects. The most dangerous thing for a director is that they get boxed in. When I started, I felt bad that one director would be anointed The Voice Of Rural America, another would be The New Answer To Hitchcock, another would be The New Thriller Guy, or there would be The New Billy Wilder Guy, or whatever. Everyone figured out what you were and what slot in the record store your records went in. Are you Country or Rock 'n' Roll or Disco, you know? And I thought, 'Oh, that (label) gets them a lot more press. As soon as people know what box to put them in, what stories to include them on, what round-ups to include them in…'," he said.

Looking back at his journey, Mangold said: "In my case, I did a big cop movie ('Cop Land'), an independent movie ('Heavy'), a movie about women in a mental institution ('Girl, Interrupted')… And the press had no idea where to put me. The system doesn't quite know how to deal with someone who moves around. Even though, Billy Wilder (who directed 'Some Like It Hot' and 'The Apartment') didn't make a comedy till his 13th movie! And I haven't even made 11 movies yet! I'm really happy. It was a long path but now I turn around and I have the possibility of making a musical film, because I made 'Walk The Line', or I have the possibility of making a procedural because of 'Cop Land', or a Western because of '3:10 To Yuma' or a comedy because of 'Kate & Leopold' or 'Knight & Day'."

"I have permission to drive in so many arenas. And it also allows me to take all the lessons I've learned from all these genres and synthesise them. Like, I really didn't want Le Mans '66 to be a ponderous, epic, with pretensions. I wanted to really feel like what it's like being in the pit with these guys and to be one of them," he added. His "Ford v Ferrari" is set against the backdrop of the battle between automobile makers Ford and Ferrari in 1960 as they fought it out to get the top crown at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The entertainer follows teams of engineers and designers led by visionary Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) to explore themes like male bonding and rivalry, as the designers from Ford try to build a race car that can beat the legendary Ferrari. The effort transformed the whole world of racing. The 20th Century Fox released the film in India on November 15.

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First Published: 27 November, 2019 09:25 IST

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