The 39-year-old actor stars as legendary motor racing driver and Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix racing team founder Enzo Ferrari in the Mann-directed biopic.
The pair were in attendance at the film’s Venice Film Festival screening on Thursday (31 August).
Before the start of the movie at the Sala Grande Theatre, Driver and Mann were showered with a six-minute standing ovation, according to Variety.
Following the dramatic conclusion of the film, Driver was reportedly “fighting back tears”. He was then helped up by Mann, and the two received another round of applause.
Also starring Hugh Jackman, Penélope Cruz, Patrick Dempsey and Shailene Woodley, Ferrari is based on the biography Enzo Ferrari: The Man and the Machin, written by Brock Yates.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) August 31, 2023
Set in 1975, the Italian-set drama tells the life story of the automotive mogul whose family redefined the idea of the high-powered Italian sports car and essentially developed the sport of Formula One racing.
Driver’s attendance at the 80th annual Venice Film Festival, which opened on Wednesday (30 August), and runs through Saturday 9 September, comes amid the ongoing actors’ and writers’ strike.
However, as Mann’s film was not produced under Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) contracts, Ferrari was granted an interim agreement during the historic Hollywood shutdown.
The exemption, granted by the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) to a number of films and TV shows deemed “truly independent”, allows production on such projects to continue.
During the film’s press conference, Driver was asked about his presence at the festival.
“I’m very proud to be here to kind of be a visual representation of a movie that’s not a part of the AMPTP, and to promote the leadership directive, which is an effective tactic,” the actor said.
He described the interim agreements as “two-fold”, stating (via The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Ritman): “It allows independent movies that have no association with writers who are non-WGA members, to be made.”
That same day, French director Luc Besson made his emotional return to the film festival circuit, months after he was dismissed of rape charges in June.
Speaking to the press before the world premiere of his latest action drama, Dogman, at the international film festival, the 64-year-old French film director fought back tears as he expressed his love of filmmaking.
“The only two things that can save you are love and art, definitely not money. When you have both you’re lucky,” Besson said, according to Singapore’s Channel News Asia.