Bradley Cooper cast in Spielberg’s ‘Bullitt’

Bradley Cooper, Steve McQueen

Based on the character Frank Bullitt, played by Steve McQueen in 1968, the Untitled Frank Bullitt Project, is currently in the works with Josh Singer set to write and Steven Spielberg to direct.

Bradley Cooper has been cast as Frank Bullitt and will also serve as producer, along with Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, who was also a producer of Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. Steve McQueen’s son Chad McQueen and granddaughter Molly McQueen are executive producing.

Cooper, Spielberg, and Krieger also serve as producers on Cooper’s upcoming feature Maestro, about the life of Leonard Bernstein, which is currently in post-production and is set to be released on Netflix in 2023.

The original Bullitt was based on the 1963 novel Mute Witness by Robert L. Fish and starred the late McQueen as the title character, a San Francisco Police Department lieutenant seeking to take down Chicago mobster Johnny Ross (Pat Renella.)

Bullit was mostly filmed in San Francisco and can boast that it had one of the most iconic car chase scenes in the history of filmmaking, lasting ten minutes and fifty-three seconds, but the story also surrounded the seedy underbelly of the organized crime scene in Chicago, with several scenes filmed in Chicago. It’s too early in the project to know if Steven Spielberg’s Untitled Frank Bullitt Project will do any filming in Chicago. 

The project is still in development and sources have told Deadline that this will not be a remake of the original film but a new idea centered on the character of Frank Bullitt. Filming dates and locations are still unknown at this time. 

Bullitt wasn’t the only Steve McQueen movie filmed in Chicago, that also could boast an iconic car scene. Shortly before receiving his cancer prognosis, McQueen appeared in his last film, The Hunter, where he played a fictional version of a real-life bounty hunter, Ralph “Papa” Thorson.

With much of the film shot in the greater Chicago area, one of the most iconic car stunts in cinematic history was filmed at Marina City. In The Hunter, Tom Rosales, who played the psychotic bail-jumper Bernardo, carjacked a screaming woman and took off up the ramp of Marina City’s west tower with McQueen in pursuit in a stolen tow truck. Bernardo lost control of the Grand Prix, crashed through a modified wooden cable barrier on the 17th floor of the Marina Towers parking garage, and plummeted in a dramatic slow motion fall into the Chicago River. 

That car crashing into the Chicago River was so iconic that in 2006 a commercial for Allstate Insurance (directed by Phil Joanou) paid homage to the film, recreating the scene by using a pressurized air cannon to propel a black 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass off the 17th floor of the Marina Towers parking garage into the Chicago River.

After the original scene was filmed for The Hunter, the car was quickly retrieved from the Chicago River, but by the time the 2006 Allstate commercial rolled around, more care had to be taken to protect the river. The fluids were removed from the car, the engine was taken out to make it lighter, and the rear end was filled with foam to make it float when it hit the river so it was easier to retrieve by Chicago Police tugboats. The car was hooked to a cable and lifted by crane onto Dearborn Street.

The preparation for the 2006 filming was very similar to how Chicago P.D. had to prepare for an episode last season when they launched a car off the Columbus bridge and into the Chicago River. 


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