Even though the new biopic “Driven” chronicles the worst chapter of John DeLorean’s life, director Nick Hamm believes the engineering prodigy turned disgraced automobile magnate would be delighted with the film.
“I think he would probably be quite amused and quite sort of happy,” Hamm told Variety at the movie’s premiere at the ArcLght Cinemas in Hollywood on Monday night. “Because he comes across quite well. He’s rather an endearing character and I think he would find the whole thing quite humorous. This ludicrous lifestyle and this ludicrous car, that story was made into a movie in Hollywood. He was a showman and if there’s anything else that this town is about, it’s showmen.”
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Inspired by real-life events, “Driven” follows the spectacular downfall of DeLorean, once a rising star in the automotive industry of the 1970s and ’80s. Known for his lavish and flamboyant lifestyle, DeLorean teetered on the edge of financial ruin before being unwittingly drawn into a undercover cocaine sting in a desperate bid to save his failing company. The story is told from the perspective of DeLorean’s friend and neighbor, James Hoffman, a FBI informant with an agenda of his own.
“I’m the narrator if you will,” said Jason Sudeikis, who plays Hoffman. “It was like that in the script and I thought it was a very clever way to tell a story about a person who different people saw in many different ways. He’s a narrator but an unreliable one.”
DeLorean is played by Lee Pace, who spoke of the significant challenges faced by the production crew as they struggled to complete the film, which was shot in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
“There had been a hurricane two weeks before we started filming so already there were challenges and adjustments to our location,” Pace told Variety. “And then when Maria hit, it was just so destructive. It was unbelievable what it did to that island. But you never saw a group of people come together like that crew did. Everyone wanted to get back to work on it. Everyone needed to solve the problems and finish a movie that we are all really proud of. These storms are going to be more common. You can’t stop the projects that you started.”
As a Detroit native and lifelong DeLorean fan, Judy Greer, who plays Hoffman’s wife Ellen in the film, said she was immediately drawn to the project. “Since I was a kid, I have loved the DeLorean,” Greer told Variety. “I thought it was an amazing and aspirational car. It was such an important part of my childhood.”
Though DeLorean died penniless in 2005, the splashy impresario left his mark on history and on Hollywood when the DeLorean DMC-12 was immortalized in the classic 1985 time-traveling comedy “Back To The Future.” Though DeLorean personally thanked the film’s producer and co-writer Bob Gale, his widow would eventually go on to sue for royalties.
As for what Pace would say to his real-life counterpart were he alive today? “Cool car, man.”
“Driven” will be in theaters, on demand and digital on August 16th.