They’re calling him Spielberg the Unstoppable. At a time when most of his peers seem content to spend their golden years in leisure activities, the 75-year-old filmmaker is showing no signs of trading his director’s chair for a rocking chair.
Hot on the heels of his triumphant West Side Story and the yet-to-be-released semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans, Spielberg is poised to direct a new Warner Bros. flick based on Bullitt, the 1968 crime thriller that starred Steve McQueen. Deadline reported the details this week, noting that this would not be a remake of the original film but “a new idea centered on the character.” In the original version, directed by Peter Yates, Frank Bullitt was depicted as a tough San Francisco cop trying to track down a murderous mobster. The film’s violent chase scene became legendary for its over-the-top choreography.
According to industry sources, Spielberg had been engaged for some time in intense negotiations with the McQueen estate over the rights to the story. Sources also report that Josh Singer has been tapped to write the script for the new Bullitt picture, which Spielberg will also co-produce with Kristie Macosko Krieger. Executive producers will be Steve McQueen’s son and granddaughter, Chad and Molly McQueen.
Of Ukrainian heritage, the indefatigable Spielberg earned accolades for many of his iconic films, including Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Jurassic Park (1993), Schindler’s List (1993), and several pictures in the Indiana Jones series.
West Side Story, by the way, has already earned eight Oscar nominations, including best picture and two for Spielberg as director and producer. With its script co-written with Tony Kushner, The Fabelmans is scheduled for release around Thanksgiving. More than a half century ago, Peter Yates’s Bullitt won Oscars for editing and sound, and it was selected in 2007 for inclusion in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry as a film worthy of preservation for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Seven of Spielberg’s films have already qualified for that honor.