Hollywood races for DeLorean story
Friday 12 June 2009
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owners of Time, will draw on dozens of the magazine's investigations into DeLorean, pictured right, together with an unpublished autobiography detailing, in 500 pages, the career and private life that saw him romance Tina Sinatra and Ursula Andress, and rattle through four wives.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.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO's one simple test for who to hire
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Saudi Arabia executions now at 'unprecedented rate' after kingdom kills four more in two days
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...