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Jeremy Renner as Steve McQueen

SteveMcQueen.jpgSteve McQueen is a Hollywood legend and Jeremy Renner is fast becoming a Hollywood staple, but he's a long way off being the legend that McQueen was. However it looks like he's going to take a fast track to that sort of status, but playing the actor and icon.

Not only that but he's formed a production company and together with a group of other producers they are going to produce the documentary with James Gray, writer and director of We Own the Night, developing the script and video director Ivan Zacharias making his directorial debut.

The documentary will be based on two books about Steven McQueen and his life by Marshall Terrill, Portrait of an American Rebel and The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon, according to the story in The Hollywood Reporter.

The books carry the following comments on Amazon (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) from the blurbs to official reviews:

"Steve McQueen takes us on a journey as his harrowing and painful childhood is laid bare, through his glittering career, and right up to his heroic battle with cancer and dramatic death in Mexico. It chronicles the good with the ugly, revealing the great power McQueen wielded. It features numerous behind-the-scenes stories from some of his (and cinema's) greatest films, including The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Sand Pebbles, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Getaway, and Papillon...

...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...

...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 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."

What's interesting about all that is the scope of the two books, clearly that scope can't make it to a film because there's just so much in there, so what will? Well I'm sure we're going to see his personal struggles but will the film touch on any of the big screen moments such as the Bullitt chase or the rivarly on set on The Magnificent Seven?

I would like to see a little of the latter because there are such great stories about the man, but a look at the legend himself should really make the core of the film and I really hope it doesn't turn into something that pampers to the big screen image of the character.

Who can you think of better than Jeremy Renner to play the man? I half wrote this story before my extended weekend break and it's been on my mind since. At first I wasn't enamoured by the choice, but the more I thought about it and the more Renner's face came to mind, the more I realised he's a damn good choice.

Of course Renner's career doesn't match that of McQueen's, but this is after all something called acting, I'm sure he can pull it off. However looking at some of the things said about the books on which the film is to be based, this might not be a wholly welcomed story of the Hollywood icon, after all it is warts and all.

Personally, I'm just glad that we're getting to see something about the actor begin production, and it's a bonus that we're seeing a strong actor and some great source material as the starting point.



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