Although it’s now more than 50 years old, Bullitt remains one of the most beloved action movies in Hollywood history, with a car chase through the streets of San Francisco that appears on literally every single list ever written of the greatest car chases in movies. (With good reason, too; it’s incredible.) Bullitt also remains the defining image of movie star Steve McQueen. When people think of McQueen today, most think of him in that image above, which became Bullitt’s poster: McQueen in that turtleneck with his holster, leaning pensively against a wall.
Now we can add a very big name to the list of Bullitt’s admirers: Steven Spielberg, who is reportedly working on what might be considered a sequel to Bullitt all these years later. According to Deadline, Spielberg will soon direct a film based on McQueen’s Frank Bullitt character. Their report makes it clear this is not “a remake of the original film but a new idea centered on the character.” Josh Singer, who co-wrote Spielberg’s The Post, and also worked on the scripts for Spotlight and First Man, is writing the script.
Spielberg has apparently been wanting to make a Bullitt movie for a while:
Insiders say Spielberg had been toying with the idea to direct a film based on the character for some time and came close last year to making it his follow-up to West Side Story, but had to negotiate with the McQueen estate for rights to the character before he would attach as a director. With the negotiations taking longer then expected, Spielberg shifted his focus to directing The Fablemans, the film loosely based on the director’s childhood growing up in Arizona, and moved off of this film.
I hear Spielberg wants to make Bullitt and I immediately think of Duel, Spielberg’s breakthrough TV movie that was basically one giant chase scene. Through the years, Spielberg’s made other movies with outstanding chase scenes, from Raiders of the Lost Ark to Minority Report. If you’re making a Bullitt movie of some kind it’s got to have a chase — which makes you think the movie could have the ultimate Spielberg chase scene in it. The real question is: Who could possibly replace Steve McQueen as Frank Bullitt? That’s an awfully big turtleneck to fill.
Spielberg’s next project, the aforementioned The Fablemans, is scheduled to open in theaters on November 23.