Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans
Director: Gabriel Clarke
Country of Origin: UK 2015 100 mins.
Released by The Works
In May 1970, Steve McQueen flew to France to begin work on the film that meant more to him than any other.
The 1960s had been his golden decade. He lived in a Beverley Hills mansion so palatial it was referred to in Hollywood circles as ‘The Castle’. He had two children and a beautiful wife, Neile.
McQueen had announced himself in a classic western The Magnificent Seven before starring in The Great Escape, the war movie hit at the box office. He had charmed critics in the romantic success, The Thomas Crown Affair, before defining the role of the maverick cop in Bullitt – the film that made car chases a staple of the movie industry. Bullitt had been McQueen’s fifth hit film in a row. He was at the top of his game, commanding respect and wielding power. McQueen could work for himself, choose his own material and reap the benefits. And at last he could make the film that had been his passion for the best part of a decade… Le Mans.
Cinema Center Films invested in a $6 million budget, the largest for a McQueen film to date. The legendary film-maker John Sturges (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven) would direct. McQueen’s business partner and close friend Bob Relyea would head up the production. The star and his film would want for nothing. Authenticity was at the centre of McQueen’s unique vision. He wanted to capture the real danger, and the true essence of racing. McQueen’s unique vision would require racing at actual racing speeds day in, day out. Le Mans had the biggest star in Hollywood, one of its great directors, the best technical team ever assembled. This is the story of how one of the most charismatic movie stars of all time would lose almost everything in the pursuit of his dream. The Works.