Spielberg’s revving up to make a new Bullitt movie

Steven Spielberg is developing a new movie based on Steve McQueen's iconic fast-driving detective

Spielberg’s revving up to make a new Bullitt movie
Steve McQueen in Bullitt Photo: Warner Bros./Courtesy Getty Images

Car chase fans, prepare yourself: Steven Spielberg is developing a new movie based off Frank Bullitt, the San Francisco police detective memorably brought to life by Steve McQueen in 1968's Bullitt. Per Variety, Spielberg is working with Josh Singer, from The Post and Spotlight, to write a new script centered on the famously fast-driving cop.

This new project won’t, apparently, be a direct remake of Bullitt, which was based off the 1963 Robert L. Fish novel Mute Witness. Instead it’ll be a new and original story—although Spielberg and his co-producers did secure the rights to the Bullitt character from McQueen’s estate, with the actor’s son and granddaughter both attached as executive producers.

Deadline, which first broke this story, reports that Bullitt probably won’t be Spielberg’s next feature, after his upcoming semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans. But the director—never hesitant to dive into his own love of classic film in order to provide inspiration for new projects—had apparently been interested in the idea for a while, with the major stumbling block being negotiations with the McQueen estate.

Spielberg is already having a busy year; he’s currently on the block for seven Oscar nominations for his similarly historically minded West Side Story revival. He’s also recently wrapped filming on The Fabelmans, which stars Gabriel LaBelle as an aspiring young Arizona filmmaker who’s probably also really into Bullitt, we’re guessing.

The original Bullitt was directed by Peter Yates, and is widely heralded for featuring some of the coolest car chases in cinematic history, most notably the 10-minute San Francisco sequence with McQueen behind the wheel of his iconic Ford Mustang. The film won an Oscar for Best Editing, largely on the strength of said sequence.

Spielberg more-or-less got his start with a car chase, obviously, having first made a name for himself with 1971's made-for-TV Duel. He also included a race sequence in 2018's Ready Player One that’s so jammed with film references that we’re kind of surprised we didn’t seem Bullitt’s Mustang buried somewhere in the pack. We’d be lying, though, if we said we weren’t fascinated by the idea of the man throwing all of his resources and talent behind filming “the ultimate Steven Spielberg car chase flick.”

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