Belfast Telegraph

The Journey team to make John DeLorean movie

By Noel McAdam

The team who made the film of how Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness became friends are to focus on another name from Northern Ireland's past - John DeLorean.

Director Nick Hamm and writer Colin Bateman plan to join forces again for a movie about the man whose ill-fated, futuristic car is already a Hollywood icon, thanks to the Back to the Future trilogy. Filming is due to begin later this year in Puerto Rico, Bateman has confirmed.

"I'm going back to the future with my next movie," he said.

The project - due to star Timothy Olyphant - will feature at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

It will tell how in 1978 the then Labour government gave DeLorean's company £55m for providing employment for 2,500 in jobs-starved Dunmurry.

That was then topped up with a further £30m from the Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher.

DeLorean had left a promising career with General Motors in a bid to become the man who ended the hegemony of the big three car manufacturers - with his distinctive gull-winged automobile.

DeLorean, who died just over 12 years ago at the age of 80, was arrested in Los Angeles and charged with conspiring to sell cocaine worth $24m (£12.6m) to raise funds to invest in the struggling company.

Instead he accused the government of entrapment, and was acquitted, despite the existence of a videotape in which he described a suitcase of cocaine as being as "good as gold".

And when his factory finally closed it had manufactured fewer than 10,000 cars. Northern Ireland-born director Hamm (below right) and Bateman (far right) are believed to have hatched the idea for a DeLorean movie while they worked on the Paisley/McGuinness film, which opens in a number of cinemas here tomorrow. It is believed it will focus on the FBI's 'sting' operation and will also star Jason Sudeikis and Lee Pace.

In 1992 a British judge said that he would have liked to have sentenced the car creator to 10 years in prison for "barefaced massive fraud" over stolen UK government money.

But the judge could not do so because DeLorean had side-stepped an extradition request to the US.

All he ever spent behind bars was 10 days while he raised bail after his LA arrest, although litigation would follow him almost to the grave.

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