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Sunday, May 14, 2021

Steve McQueen’s last two movies were The Hunter and Tom Horn. Both were released in 1980, the year of his death.

Now, a quarter-century later, his dream film project may finally make it onto the screen. “Yucatan” is the recently re-discovered action-adventure storyboard outline that McQueen was never able to make happen, but is now making the Hollywood rounds.

McQueen envisioned it as a cross between The Great Escape and Bullitt, but with motorcycles. (Does that sound like a prototypical pitch-session description, or what?)

What [producer Lance Sloane] found when he got the trunks to his office floored him: 1,700 pages of hand-typed material, written by Steve McQueen over a two-year period from 1969 to 1970. It amounted to a proto-PowerPoint presentation for a finished film, in which an archaeologist from the Museum of London enlists a renegade Navy diver, who works for the oil companies and races motorcycles on the “shores of the Mojave,” in a plan to explore the cenotes, caves in the Yucatan jungle that reveal underground lakes. Here, a millennium before, Mayan priests sacrificed virgins covered in gold and precious jewels, a fortune rumored to still adorn their skeletons at the bottom of these sacred wells.

The writing is filled with a reverence for nature and sympathy to the class struggle in Mexico, and there is a motorcycle chase spelled out in illustrated storyboards that McQueen planned as the most elaborate ever committed to film. In William F. Nolan’s biography “McQueen,” the actor describes the film as follows: “Our story will center on a guy who takes his cycle into the Mexican wilds on a personal treasure hunt. Naturally, I’ll play the guy on the cycle.”

There’ll be a posthumous writing credit for the King of Cool, naturally. Maybe even a vintage version of the choppers he used to love riding.

It’ll be interesting to see who assumes his starring role, should this ever get off the ground. Hopefully, Torque didn’t poison the well for future motorcycle-centric feature films.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/14/2006 08:33:25 PM
Category: Movies | Permalink |

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