Belfast Telegraph

DeLorean the movie set to roll

Hollywood film studios are competing to develop a movie based around the life of notorious motor industry magnate John DeLorean.

Three separate production companies are in the running to develop a biopic of the entrepreneur, who achieved fame by creating the ‘gull-wing’ sports car, before being tried and then acquitted of organising a massive cocaine deal in an effort to save his ill-fated business empire.

The movie would be expected to concentrate heavily on the story of his ill-fated manufacturing plant in Dunmurry, which received £80m from the public purse.

The car built at the west Belfast plant — the famous DMC 12 which featured in the Back to the Future films — would become a collectors' item, but only 9,000 were ever made. The bulk of the 2,700 west Belfast workers who built the gull-winged vehicle were put on the dole when receivers were appointed in February 1982.

The Public Accounts Committee at Westminster subsequently described the DeLorean project as “one of the gravest cases of the misuse of public resources” in many years.

One of the companies bidding to make the DeLorean film, Time Inc Studios, will draw on dozens of investigations into DeLorean, together with an unpublished autobiography detailing, in 500 pages, the career and private life that saw him romance Tina Sinatra and Ursula Andress, and rattle through four wives.

“It's almost like an updated Citizen Kane story of the great American entrepreneurial hero, and how it all went wrong,” one of the producers, Nick Spicer, told Variety, adding that he had secured the co-operation of DeLorean's son and executor, Zachary.

DeLorean, who died in 2005 aged 80, was a star at General Motors in the 1960s and resigned in 1973 to set up the engineering firm which created the famous DMC-12 in Northern Ireland, a steel sports car.

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