Even as he juggles an awards-season campaign for West Side Story and post-production on his semi-autobiographical pic The Fablemans, Steven Spielberg looks to be getting that future dance card in order. Sources tell Deadline that he is attached to direct a new original story centered on Frank Bullitt, the iconic character played by Steve McQueen in the 1968 thriller Bullitt. Spielberg will also produce the pic along with Kristie Macosko Krieger, with Josh Singer on board to pen the script. The film is set up at Warner Bros.
Sources do add that with no script and deals being finalized, this would likely not be the next project Spielberg directs.
Sources were adamant this is not a remake of the original film but a new idea centered on the character. In the original film, Frank Bullitt is a no-nonsense San Francisco cop on the hunt for the mob kingpin that killed his witness. Considered one of McQueen’s more iconic roles, the film delivers one of the most famous car-chase scenes in cinema history.
Steve McQueen’s son, Chad ,and granddaughter Molly McQueen will exec produce the new movie.
Insiders say Spielberg had been toying with the idea to direct a film based on the character for some time and came close last year to making it his follow-up to West Side Story, but head to negotiate with the McQueen estate for rights to the character before he would attach as a director. With the negotiations taking longer then expected, Spielberg shifted his focus to directing The Fablemans, the film loosely based on the director’s childhood growing up in Arizona, and moved off of this film.
Once filming wrapped on Fablemans, he circled back to the Bullitt project and recently tapped Singer to pen the script.
A review I read suggests the ending suggests there could have been a “Bullitt” sequel. There are few successful sequels to the original, of course, although sequels can still be entertaining. It’s tantalizing for this fans of this movie to wonder about “Bullitt II,” including how you could possibly top that car chase. Others here suggested, believe it or don’t, Ryan Phillippe (with Bisset as his mother), Nicholas Cage, Lawrence Fishburne, McQueen’s real-life son Chad (who was in a movie that featured, surprise!, a 1968 Mustang), and even Sandra Bullock as Bullitt’s long-lost daughter. Of course, Ford decided to make a sequel to the Bullitt Mustang, the latest of which is available at a Ford dealership near you.
This being imagination-challenged Hollywood of the 21st century, there apparently were plans a decade ago to remake “Bullitt” with Brad Pitt in the lead, allegedly because “Brad shares a lot of the same passions as Steve McQueen – including a love of motorbikes and fast cars — so it was a dream role for him.” Or not. Perfection (though the movie is not perfect) cannot be remade. If you’re going to do that, then why not put Bullitt and Dirty Harry together, since the same detective inspired both, and the great Schifrin set both to music?
I was relieved to see that this is not a remake.