Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans is a 2015 documentary directed by John McKenna and Gabriel Clarke. It premiered at the 68th Cannes Film Festival and was one of only two British films to be an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival in 2015.
The film focuses on the time when film star Steve McQueen tried to take control of his career. After the success of Bullitt and The Thomas Crown Affair, McQueen sought to pursue his dream of creating a film about his passion: race-car driving. The result, Le Mans, was a box-office flop.
McQueen, who did a lot of his own motorcycle and car driving stunts, drove a Porsche with a broken clutch-foot to finish second at Sebring. Based on previously unseen footage, the documentary interweaves the newly discovered material and McQueen’s private recordings with interviews with many of the surviving production team to reveal the true story of how the film was made. The documentary depicts how McQueen set up his own production company called Solar Productions and, with the collaboration of a new Hollywood company named Cinema Center Films, would film the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the summer of 1970. Cinema Center Films invested $6 million ($37 million today) in the movie, the largest budget ever for a McQueen film. John Sturges would direct the picture; he had worked with Steve in The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Additionally Alan Trustman, McQueen’s most trusted writer, was initially chosen to write the script.
In the film, Hal Hamilton exclaims, “We had the star, we had the drivers. We had an incredible array of technical support, we had everything. Except a script.” Haig Altounian, Steve’s chief mechanic, said, ‘We were winging it.” Cinema Center Films (which had not previously been involved in the filming process) took over the production after a few months and suspended production for two weeks (even giving Robert Redford a call to see if he would replace McQueen). Cinema Center Films considered shutting down the film completely, but eventually struck a deal with McQueen, in which he gave up his salary, his percentage of any profits and his control of the film, in order to get it finished. John Sturges walked out, saying, “I am too old and too rich to put up with this shit.” McQueen fell out with Trustman and fired him; Trustman barely worked in Hollywood again. McQueen’s producer Robert Relyea fell out with McQueen and television director Lee H. Katzin took over.
Source Page – Wikipedia