×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannes: Directors of Steve McQueen Documentary Tracked Down Lost ‘Le Mans’ Rushes

Filmmakers sometimes have to be detectives too, which was the case with the making of documentary “Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans,” which world premieres in Cannes Saturday.

The film, which is directed by Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna, tracks the making of McQueen’s motor-racing movie “Le Mans” in 1970. “It is the story of his pursuit of the ultimate racing movie,” Clarke told Variety. The production of “Le Mans” did not go to plan, and the actor’s personal and professional life also started to skid.

Clarke and McKenna found an ally in McQueen’s son, Chad McQueen, who is also a motor-sport fan, and is in Cannes to support the launch.

The star of the documentary is the archive footage the filmmakers tracked down, alongside interviews with Chad McQueen, and Steve McQueen’s producing partner Bob Relyea, who died in 2013. Archive material includes interviews with John Sturges, who was supposed to direct “Le Mans” but quit, and an interview with Steve McQueen when he was dying of cancer.
But the prize material was boxes of rushes from “Le Mans.” These were located thanks to a tip-off from someone who’d worked at CBS’ Cinema Center Studios, which had funded “Le Mans.”

“McQueen shot something like a million feet of rushes, which we called ‘the holy grail’ during pre-production,” Clarke said. “Many of those we spoke to – including Chad – said that all the material had been incinerated. No one knew where they were. But as a result of continued pursuit, the footage was found under a sound stage in one of the old studios where the film was edited in L.A. More than 400 boxes of film, covered in dust. Each one read ‘Le Mans’ along its spine. It was just fantastic news for us.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content