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Matt Damon visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday to discuss his upcoming movie Ford v Ferrari, which follows the real-life story of Carroll Hall Shelby and Ken Miles as they build a car in hopes of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a daylong race.
“It’s about their friendship and this crazy thing they tried to do in beating Ferrari in 1966,” said the actor.
Though the sport has gotten safer, Damon said it was extremely dangerous in the 1960s, when the film takes place. Specifically, the weakest part of the car were the brakes.
“So, these guys would be going 230 miles an hour … not knowing if they could stop,” he explained.
Despite the risks, Damon said that when he and Ford v Ferrari co-star Christian Bale went to the Indianapolis 500, they were presented with the opportunity to ride along with race car legend Mario Andretti — and Damon couldn’t refuse.
“I was like, ‘Yep, absolutely,'” he said.
The actor said Andretti routinely takes people on fast drives, as it’s the only way to convey the thrill of the sport, something Damon said director James Mangold tried to express in their film.
“You have to feel it to understand,” he said. “And I think in [Ford v Ferrari], we try to give you that feeling … to feel like you are in those cars going that speed.”
After Damon gushed about how much fun he had driving with Andretti, DeGeneres had a proposition for him.
“What if it was me [driving]?”
“No,” the actor responded instantly. “I wouldn’t do it with anyone else.”
Finally, after DeGeneres haggled with Damon about the speed she’d drive at, lowering it from 200 to 130 miles per hour, the actor accepted her offer.
“That’s a deal,” Damon said, “I will see you in Indianapolis, my friend.”
“I will see you there,” DeGeneres responded.
Afterward, the talk show host put Damon’s driving skills to the test by making him maneuver a golf cart through an obstacle course — but he had to wear a sumo suit while doing so.
Though the actor struggled to get through, Damon made it in time and received a prize — a check for $50,000 to support water.org.
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