Frank Grillo discusses stepping into the shoes of Ferruccio Lamborghini himself in Bobby Moresco’s Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend.
Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend is an exciting dive into the life and accomplishments of Ferruccio Lamborghini, the entrepreneur behind one of the best-known car brands of all time. Written and directed by Bobby Moresco, who wrote the screenplay for 2005's Crash, Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend handles both the surprising backstory of the Lamborghini brand and the troubled relationships in Ferruccio Lamborghini's life with agility and compassion. The film is grounded in truth, as well, as it is based on the book Ferruccio Lamborghini. La storia ufficiale, which was written by Ferruccio's son Tonino.
Although Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend was originally slated to feature Antonio Banderas in the starring role as Ferruccio Lamborghini, the actor dropped out and was replaced by Frank Grillo. Ultimately, however, it's difficult to see anyone else in the role as Grillo embodies Lamborghini in a natural and powerful way. While Grillo has found himself in front of huge audiences thanks to his work as Brock Rumlow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Endgame, and What If…?, his work as Ferruccio Lamborghini is an exciting turn for the actor, which is especially impressive given that he joined the cast only shortly before filming began.
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Frank Grillo spoke with Screen Rant about his work on the film, Lamborghini family approval, and spending time in Italy.
Screen Rant: Congratulations on the film. It's great. What made you want to be part of it? Are you a car guy?
Frank Grillo: I am a car guy, but mostly what made me want to do it is the opportunity to play an Italian icon. I'm Italian. I'm an Italian citizen, and to get the opportunity – which is maybe once in a lifetime for me, to get to go do this, [and] to have somebody believe that I could do it – was enough.
And what kind of research do you do for something like this? Is it more than you would do for a fictional character?
Frank Grillo: You know, normally, yeah, I probably would over-research it, and I would overthink it. And fortunately, I didn't have the luxury of that time. I only had about ten days before I got the job and had to go to Italy. So, I read the book that the movie is based on, and I spoke a lot to Bobby Moresco, the director and writer, who had a lot of information. And then I kind of cut it off, because I didn't want to start the wheels turning. I got to Italy, and we just kind of jumped into it with how I sounded, and what I looked like, and the beautiful suits. It was so much easier than I thought it was going to be for me, as far as the role is concerned. I fell into this so naturally and organically. I've had so much fun doing it.
Obviously, a lot of Lamborghini's family is still around. The movie does a really good job of talking about not only how driven he was, but how that drive affected his family life. How was it for you to play that, knowing his family was going to see it?
Frank Grillo: Yeah. By the way, Tonino, who wrote the book, he's a very smart, very powerful guy in Italy. Piercing blue eyes. He would stay on set, and so I would do a take, and somehow I'd find myself looking at him like, "Is he going to, like, throw rocks at me?" It was a bit intimidating at first, and then I had to let it go, because the interpretation of who I think he was, is that. Right? I couldn't make him happy.
And yet, I just went to the Rome Film Festival, and I had a little bit of a conversation with him. He doesn't speak English, really. I had them ask, "Is he happy with it?" and he kissed me on both cheeks. So either that means he's going to kill me, or he was very happy with it.
Strong feelings, either way. And how much did you know about Ferruccio Lamborghini before this? Anything?
Frank Grillo: Nothing. People know about those other car makers, and the great thing about this story is, it needs to be told. It's a great story, but nobody knows it. A lot of people don't even realize Lamborghini was the name of a person. Do you know what I mean? So, I think that's a great time to have a movie come out.
Yeah. I was one of those people, so I appreciated it. And you were behind the wheel of some really beautiful cars in this. Were you able to drive them?
Frank Grillo: No, these cars weren't registered. These are real museum pieces; these are collector's items. We put them on a flatbed, and we did our thing. I want none of that responsibility in my life. Yeah, I've got enough problems.
Finally, you mentioned that you have Italian citizenship, but is there anything that you miss about just getting to be there, and shoot there, and spend that time?
Frank Grillo: I was just there for the Rome Film Festival, too, and I have to tell you, I'm seriously considering – as my kids are getting… one's getting out of high school next year, and then I got one left – I'm seriously considering splitting my time between Italy and the United States. That's how much I love it. I love being Italian. I love being Italian in Italy. For me, it fits my lifestyle better than then here. So yeah, I'm going back.
Featuring Oscar® winners Mira Sorvino and the screenwriter of Crash, this thrilling, high-speed biopic tells the story of genius auto inventor Ferruccio Lamborghini (Frank Grillo, “Kingdom,” “Boss Level”). All his life Ferruccio has dreamed of beating his longtime rival Enzo Ferrari (Gabriel Byrne, “War of the Worlds”) — and the upcoming Geneva Grand Prix could be his chance to blow past Ferrari for good. But can Ferruccio get his untested vehicle prepped for victory with the competition just months away? The race is on!
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Lamborghini: The Man Behind The Legend will be released on digital platforms and in select theaters on November 18th.
Owen Danoff is a features writer for Screen Rant, covering movies and TV shows he would be watching and taking about anyway. Owen has been an avid consumer of science fiction and fantasy books, films, television shows, and video games for most of his life, and credits them for his love of storytelling and writing in general. Personal favorites include Star Wars movies, Brandon Sanderson books, and the Mass Effect games. Owen is also a songwriter and musician with a history of releasing his own music as well as collaborating with other artists. When not writing, Owen is usually thinking about writing, or playing Apex Legends.


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