Hollywood races for DeLorean story

As if America's motor industry needed a reminder of its myriad failures, cinema audiences may soon rake over the dodgy life and times of perhaps the most notorious figure in its recent history: the late carmaker John DeLorean.

Three separate production companies are competing to develop Hollywood biopics of the entrepreneur, who achieved fame creating an eponymous "gull-wing" sports car, before being tried and acquitted of organising a massive cocaine deal in an effort to save his ill-fated business empire.

The latest project, headlined by Time Inc Studios, the owners of Time, will draw on dozens of the magazine's investigations into DeLorean, pictured right, together with an unpublished autobiography detailing, in 500 pages, the career and private life that saw him romance Tina Sinatra and Ursula Andress, and rattle through four wives.

"It's almost like an updated Citizen Kane story of the great American entrepreneurial hero, and how it all went wrong," one of the producers, Nick Spicer, told Variety, adding that he had secured the co-operation of DeLorean's son and executor, Zachary.

DeLorean, who died in 2005 aged 80, was a star at General Motors in the 1960s and resigned in 1973 to set up the engineering firm which created the famous DMC-12, a steel sports car that starred in the Back to the Future blockbuster films.

Famous for his playboy lifestyle – he stood six foot four, had matinee idol looks (embellished, it is said, by a chin implant) and a personal fleet of 22 cars and motorbikes – DeLorean's efforts to reinvent the auto industry nonetheless ended in failure: his firm went bankrupt in 1982, after producing just 9,000 cars. Later that year, he was arrested for importing almost $15m-worth of cocaine into the US.

However despite video evidence of him taking delivery of a suitcase of the class-A drug, DeLorean managed to convince a jury that he'd been the victim of entrapment by the FBI.

The rest of DeLorean's life was spent dodging creditors, rebranding himself as a born-again Christian, and attempting to set up exotic business ventures, mostly using other people's money. In 1999, he was declared bankrupt again, when an enterprise to build a plastic sports car collapsed.

Films about his colourful life will have a special poignancy for British audiences, who may recall that Margaret Thatcher ploughed millions in taxpayers' money into a manufacturing plant he built in Northern Ireland, only for it to shut down in 1982, with the loss of almost 3,000 jobs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...