Belfast Telegraph

Writer Bateman's disappointment as DeLorean biopic misses out on Northern Ireland screenings

The first photo from the set of Driven, with Lee Pace as John DeLorean and Jason Sudeikis as Jim Hoffman
The first photo from the set of Driven, with Lee Pace as John DeLorean and Jason Sudeikis as Jim Hoffman

The Co Down writer behind a Hollywood biopic on the life of maverick car designer John DeLorean has said he was “shocked” to find out his film will not be shown in cinemas in Northern Ireland.

DeLorean’s Belfast-built DMC-12 gullwing car became one of the automotive icons of the 1980s, featuring in the Back To The Future film franchise.

Starring Lee Pace as the fast-talking US entrepreneur and Jason Sudeikis as informant Jim Hoffman, Driven tells the real-life story of an FBI operation to arrest the car designer for drug trafficking in the years after his business dream collapsed.

The film received its world premiere at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival in August last year.

Bangor author Colin Bateman expressed his disappointment that the film would not be screened in “the country where the DeLorean was built”. “Kind of shocked to report that Driven, our film about John DeLorean, will not be getting a cinema release here,” he wrote.

“It’ll be out on some screens in England, and available as a digital download everywhere from November 8, but no big screens here.

“Some of you will be aware that I hosted a few private screenings last weekend to help get the word out, and the reaction was so incredible (and all the tickets went in a couple of hours) that this has kind of thrown me,” he added. The movie — shot in Puerto Rico — is directed by Belfast-born Nick Hamm.

Bateman and Hamm previously worked together on the 2016 film The Journey, which starred Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney as Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness. Bateman, who has a string of acclaimed novels to his name, said despite the disappointment he understood how the movie business worked.

“Now, I’m an old hand at the movie business and I know how impossible it is right now,” he added.

“If there’s not a superhero in it or a fantasy element it’s hard to get anything in the local Omniplex, and everything is migrating to Netflix or one of the other streamers.

DeLorean creator John DeLorean
DeLorean creator John DeLorean

“It will be seen, but we’re not even getting into somewhere like the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast.” He added: “Ah well, on to the next one...”

Driven is the second film about the infamous American car-maker this year.

Framing John DeLorean, directed by Sheena M Joyce and Don Argott and starring Alec Baldwin, tells the story of the controversial man behind the unmistakable sports car.

The car was built in Dunmurry and its stainless steel body,  unconventional at the time, made it ideal for time travel in the movie business.

DeLorean died in New Jersey from a stroke in March 2005 at the age of 80.

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