LONDON • Christian Bale is taking on the lead role in Michael Mann's long-gestating biopic about car magnate Enzo Ferrari .
According to movie website Deadline, the Oscar-winning star of The Fighter (2010) will play the Italian entrepreneur, who founded Ferrari in 1929. The project has been a labour of love for Mann, who has been developing it for 15 years.
The film is set to take place in 1957 and is based on the 1991 book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, The Cars, The Races, written by Brock Yates.
The script will be based on an amalgamation of two screenplays, both based on the same source.
One is from the late Troy Kennedy Martin, who wrote The Italian Job (1969), and the other is from the late David Rayfiel.
Several female stars are reportedly being proposed for the film.
Ferrari was married to Laura Dominica Garello Ferrari but also had a child with his mistress Lina Lardi.
It is one of two Ferrari biopics in development, with Robert De Niro reportedly signing on for a different look at the businessman.
The actor's project comes from an Italian producer and will look at Ferrari's life from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Bale previously worked with Mann on the 2009 drama Public Enemies.
Mann's most recent film, the Chris Hemsworth cyber-thriller Blackhat, is one of the year's biggest flops, making just US$17 million (S$24 million) worldwide from a US$70-million budget.
Bale also experienced a domestic failure last year with Exodus: Gods And Kings, which made just US$65 million in the United States but managed to appeal to overseas audiences for a final global tally of US$268 million.