Mann, Del Toro hitch up short

Mercedes-Benz is making a movie. Well, sort of.

The German luxury automaker recently bowed a trailer for a new thriller called “Lucky Star,” which stars Benicio del Toro, in British movie theaters and on television.

The 2½-minute trailer, helmed by Michael Mann (“Ali,” “The Insider”), centers on a master gambler named Mr. H who bets big and wins at casinos and in the stock market, which garners the attention of murky government agents.

Scenes show del Toro being chased around Los Angeles by helicopters, escaping pursuers on a freeway, absconding with secret files and burning down a shack in the desert.

There’s just one catch: Although Mann reportedly has optioned the story rights, “Lucky Star” isn’t a real movie.

Spearheaded by its new ad agency Campbell Doyle Dye, Mercedes is mimicking BMW’s recent foray into entertainment by hiring Hollywood heavyweights to promote its vehicles.

However, in contrast to BMW’s short films, “Lucky Star” is much more of a subtle sell, verging on the imperceptible. Del Toro drives Mercedes’ sleek new silver 500 SL convertible sports car, but the Mercedes logo is never shown, and the company’s name never appears in the trailer.

“Lucky Star” refers to the Mercedes iconic logo.

“Where you see cars most dramatically and excitingly portrayed is in movie trailers,” says Richard Payne, Mercedes-Benz’s communications manager. “It’s not a commercial selling that car, it’s talking about the whole excitement and dynamism of the brand.”

Auds won’t be left hanging with the trailer, however.

Pic’s Web site (luckyluckystar.com), where Mercedes isn’t being subtle about its involvement, houses the trailer, info, reviews and additional video of the SL and a description of the film’s plot and characters.

It also hints that there’s more to come, with Mercedes even contemplating a full-length feature of “Lucky Star,” should the campaign prove successful.

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