Steven Spielberg Is Developing a Project Based on “Bullitt”

It would not be a remake of the 1968 film

Bullitt (Steve McQueen) talks on the phone as 2 actors look on in a scene from the movie "Bullitt."
Bullitt (Steve McQueen) talks on the phone in a scene from the movie "Bullitt."
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This winter, Steven Spielberg revisited an iconic work first adapted for film in the 1960s to critical acclaim (and an Oscar nomination) with West Side Story. Now, according to a report in Variety, Spielberg is venturing back into the 1960s for a very different project — building a project around the character of Frank Bullitt.

If that name sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of Steve McQueen’s performance as Bullitt in the 1968 film Bullitt, considered to have one of the great cinematic car chases of all time. That film was an adaptation of the novel Mute Witness; according to Variety, this new film would be an original story featuring the same character, to be written by Spotlight‘s Josh Singer.

If the idea of a Bullitt-inspired project from a revered director sounds somewhat familiar, you’re not wrong. McQueen based his version of Bullitt on the real-life San Francisco police detective Dave Toschi — who was memorably portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in David Fincher’s film Zodiac.

Throw into the mix the fact that Damian Lewis did an uncanny job of playing McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and you have a weird perfect storm of signs pointing to Bullitt‘s ability to stand the test of time. What might Spielberg’s take on this character look like? We’ll know soon enough.

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