Henry Ford’s 150th birthday is coming up on July 30, so we decided to do something special to commemorate the occasion.
In a sense, Ford was the Steve Jobs of his time. Arriving at your local cineplex this summer is the movie Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher. So if the Apple founder is the subject of a major motion picture, why not a movie about Henry Ford?
My teammate on the Ford Blog, Arun Babber, is a big movie buff and thought Ford’s interesting life story has all the makings of a feature film. So he came up with a cast, comprised of Hollywood actors, who could star in a Henry Ford movie.
We hope you’ll be happy with Arun’s casting choices, but if you want to cast your own biopic, give us your thoughts below! So, here we go.
Henry Ford as a child, played by Nolan Gould
As a young boy, Ford had a curious nature and a love for machinery and invention. He would routinely dismantle and reassemble the timepieces of friends and neighbours, earning him a reputation as a 15-year-old watch repairman. His father recognized these interests and organized an apprenticeship for him with a machinist in Detroit.
Arun thought Nolan Gould, best known for his portrayal of Luke Dunphy on Modern Family, would be a good fit as a young Ford. An up-and-coming child actor, Gould does a great job playing a mischievous kid on the show, which leads us to believe he has the acting chops to pull off the role of Ford.
Henry Ford as a young man, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
As a young man, Ford wanted to create an affordable vehicle for the masses. He experienced plenty of ups and downs in his early career, building various vehicles with the encouragement of his good friend Thomas Edison. Then, in 1903, he created the Ford Motor Company and quickly saw worldwide success with his Model T.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance in the movie Lincoln showed his ability to portray a 19th-century man. In addition, it’s hard to discount the similarities in the faces of Gordon-Levitt and Ford – just look at the hairstyle!
Henry Ford as older man, played by Harrison Ford
Ford faced many challenges in his older years, including the death of his son. He was also very busy, chartering a “Peace Ship” to stop the First World War, running for U.S. Senate, and building a town in the Amazon, called Fordlandia. He died in his sleep in 1947, at 83.
There’s no better actor to play an older Henry Ford than the legendary Harrison Ford – and it’s not just because the two share the same last name. In addition to bearing a striking resemblance to Henry in his later years, Harrison has brought to life a handful of classic characters during his career. He’s played Han Solo, Indiana Jones, the U.S. President, and even starred in some romantic comedies. It’s that kind of acting versatility that makes him perfect to play Henry Ford.
Edsel Ford, played by Shia LaBeouf
Edsel was Henry Ford’s only child. The two shared a close, but tense relationship. Even so, Edsel held the position of president of the Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his death, at age 49, from terminal cancer. Edsel’s life story is that of a man who was constantly trying to live up to his father’s enormous expectations.
Shia LaBeouf would work well as Edsel. First off, LaBeouf has played Harrison Ford’s son once before – in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – so the chemistry is already there between the two. Secondly, he has shown the ability to play emotionally complex characters – see Lawless and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
Clara Bryant Ford, played by Michelle Williams
Henry met Clara Bryant at a country-dance when he was 21 and she became the love of his life. She was a strong woman in her own right and provided her husband with key advice on many business decisions.
The actress for Clara Bryant Ford should be capable of playing a strong female and because of that, we like Michelle Williams. Her performance as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn is a great showcase of her talent.
So, now that you’ve seen our selections, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Give us your thoughts.
– Arun Babber contributed to this post.