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Jeremy Renner To Produce and Star In Steve McQueen Biopic

Posted by , on April 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm 

Jeremy Renner is quickly becoming the next James Franco. With the latter actor getting attached to a million projects, the former has the actual work to prove it. The Oscar-nominated star from The Hurt Locker and The Town is currently shooting Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol already completed. He then has The Avengers and is all but committed to star in The Bourne Legacy. And we can’t forget his attachment to Sheldon Turner‘s By Virtue Fall and his voice talent in the next Ice Age film. THR reports that has now launched a production company with partner Don Handfield and is already developing a starring vehicle.

His newly formed company The Combine will produce a Steve McQueen biopic for their first film. It is reported the company will provide support “across all platforms” with an “artist-based perspective.” James Gray (We Own The Night, Two Lovers) will write the screenplay based on the novels Portrait of an American Rebel and The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon, from Marshall Terrill. Commercial director Ivan Zacharias is in talks to make this project his directorial debut. Check out a synopsis of the two novels below, to get a sense of the life of McQueen, also known as the American Rebel.

McQueen (1930-1980) was born in Indiana and grew up fatherless with an alcoholic mother. After stints in a reform school and the Marine Corp., he landed in New York City where he caught the acting bug. He soon won an acting scholarship and in 1956 got his break in the film Somebody Up There Likes Me . That same year he met and married dancer Neile Adams. The TV series, Wanted: Dead or Alive , brought him to the attention of director John Sturges who cast him in The Magnificent Seven . Three years later The Great Escape made him a star. The strength of this book lies in the history the author has compiled on McQueen’s 28 films–their genesis, their filming and how the critics and the paying public responded. Terrill also delves into the offscreen side of McQueen: his passion for motorcyles, fast cars and bedding his female co-stars. The author goes on to chronicle McQueen’s frequent, admitted use of LSD, marijuana and cocaine; his revulsion of homosexuals; his divorce and his subsequent marriages to actress Ali McGraw and model Barbara Minty; and, finally, his battle against lung cancer. Terrill, a dealer of Beatles’ memorabilia, makes a solid impression with his first book.

Terrell reprises the warts-and-all portrait of the mercurial Steve McQueen, aided by 32 pages of intimate photographs. Building on the foundation of his 1993 Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel, he delves into the actor’s turbulent childhood with an alcoholic, free-loving mother and an absentee father, making for a combustible personality, constantly fighting for his sense of self, not trusting easily, and becoming an at-risk teen in trouble with the law. After a stint with the Marines, McQueen broke on the New York theater scene with an Actors Studio pedigree, a highly rated TV series, and a collection of blockbuster films including The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Getaway, and Bullitt. Terrell’s psychologizing of his subject can be too much at times, but in the end he presents an engaging chronicle of McQueen’s lifelong inner demons, competitiveness, single-mindedness, obsessive desire to triumph, romantic misfires with women, and final dogged battle with cancer.

The other McQueen-related project on the horizon is the heist film Yucatan, which Robert Downey Jr. is developing and possibly starring in. Renner, or rather his character for The Hurt Locker, seem like a perfect fit to step into McQueen’s shoes, who was known for his wild life. As for the director Ivan Zacharias, one can check out some of his commercials below via /Film.


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