Steven Spielberg Developing New ‘Bullitt’ Movie Based on Steve McQueen Character

The project has been described as a new original story based on McQueen's iconic character, rather than a remake of the 1968 film.
BULLITT, Steve McQueen, 1968
Courtesy Everett Collection

After the success of his “West Side Story” remake, Steven Spielberg is continuing to mine the canon of 1960s cinema for inspiration. According to a new report from Deadline, the Oscar winner is attached to direct an action film based on “Bullitt,” the 1968 film starring Steve McQueen. Rather than a remake, the project is reportedly a new original story featuring the character of Frank Bullitt, originally played by McQueen.

“Spotlight” scribe Josh Singer is set to write the script, and Steve McQueen’s son Chad and granddaughter Molly McQueen will board the film as executive producers. Spielberg has been eyeing the project for years, but drawn-out negotiations with the McQueen estate over the character have caused him to prioritize other films. However, it appears that the two sides have reached an agreement and are ready to move forward with the film.

The original “Bullitt,” directed by Peter Yates, stars McQueen as a San Francisco police officer who turns violent in his quest to take down the crime boss who killed a witness he had in protection. Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn also star in the film, which was adapted from the novel “Mute Witness” by Robert L. Pike. In addition to being one of McQueen’s most well-known roles, “Bullitt” is regarded as one of the greatest American car chase movies, with its chase through the streets of San Francisco going on to inspire many other filmmakers.

The decision to adapt another classic film makes sense for Spielberg, as his recent slate of film projects has been increasingly nostalgic. The “West Side Story” remake fulfilled his long-standing dream of directing a musical, but he recently expressed interest in directing another popular genre from Hollywood’s Golden Age: the western. His next film, “The Fabelmans,” is a semi-autobiographical story about the way Spielberg’s childhood in Arizona led him to become a filmmaker. Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and David Lynch star in that film, which Spielberg co-wrote with Tony Kushner.

There is currently no word on when Spielberg plans to begin work on his “Bullitt” movie, though Deadline reports that it is unlikely to be Spielberg’s next project. His next outing as a director, “The Fabelmans,” hits theaters on November 23, 2022.

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