McQueen project revived for heist pic

Steve McQueen may be gone, but he’s still influencing the film biz.

Warner Bros. and producer David Heyman have set Paul Scheuring to script “Yucatan,” a heist film to be based on almost 1,700 pages of recently discovered notes and storyboards done by McQueen for a project he hoped to topline.

Scheuring, creator and exec producer of the upcoming Fox drama series “Prison Break,” has already begun writing a drama about a group of thieves who head to Mexico to find a treasure buried for centuries beneath the Yucatan peninsula.

Pic will be exec produced by McQueen’s son Chad and godson Lance Sloane. Duo got the project started when they discovered in McQueen’s vault a couple of old trunks that contained 16 custom-made leather-bound books holding meticulous storyboards and notes.

Scheuring was one of the writers they interviewed when they decided McQueen’s concepts were still film-worthy.

“I took the meeting when I was passing through L.A., and after they showed me a couple of those volumes, I cancelled my flight,” Scheuring said. “These things contain this narrative dynamic that clearly was conceived before ‘Jaws’ came out and changed the pacing of movies.”

Scheuring said McQueen also betrayed a passion for Mexican culture and Mesoamerican history.

History, action

“The story covers the historical division within Mexico between the Spanish-blooded aristocrats and the poor indigenous population,” Scheuring said. “But it is also a huge action movie, with a clearly drawn-out motorcycle chase that is right out of ‘The Great Escape.’ Certain things need to be updated, but everything needed for a great action movie is right there.”

While he preps his Fox series, Scheuring has already taken several research trips, diving in caves and limestone wells where Mayans dumped treasure in sacrifice to the gods. He said a first draft will be completed shortly, that process accelerated by what McQueen left behind.

Warner’s Dan Lin will steer the pic with Heyday’s Marc Rosen.

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