Money, power, politics, drugs, scandal, and fast cars. The incredible story of John DeLorean is the stuff of a Hollywood screenwriter’s dreams. But who was the real John DeLorean? To some, he was a renegade visionary who revolutionized the automobile industry. To others, he was the ultimate con man..
Framing John DeLorean recounts the extraordinary life and legend of the controversial automaker, tracing his meteoric rise through the ranks of General Motors, his obsessive quest to build a sports car that would conquer the world, and his shocking fall from grace on charges of cocaine trafficking.
The Knockturnal: What attracted you to the subject?
Sheena M. Joyce: We were actually approached back in 2009 about making a companion documentary to one of the original narrative scripts and then that never happened. And here we are, years later, exploring the idea of a true John DeLorean documentary. And Don and I just thought it would be kind of fun to talk about the fact that he’s this Hollywood obsession but no one pulls it off. So what is it is about this man that feels larger than life? That feels like would be perfect for the screen but then why can’t it get made? And then having these conversations encouraged us to incorporate this idea of narrative scenes, and then having conversations behind the scenes and then with Alec Baldwin about what that meant, and what John was thinking in those moments and choosing those moments, we decided to shoot the behind-the-scenes as well, so the making of the making of found its way in. But hopefully, it’s a richer story for it.
Don Argott: I think it just gave us a lot to work with … especially when you’re making a film, there’s so much behind the scene stuff that goes on naturally, you’re just like… oh man, if people knew how hard it was, to get this film made. This is the great part of the story. And it gave us another element to work with to the story because somebody like Alec, and Morena, and Josh, they’re so thoughtful how they approach their characters, even though we weren’t doing a full-length feature where they would really like dig into the characters, but in that small amount of time that we worked, they did a lot of research, and they looked at a lot of footage. Specifically, with Alec he tried to get his mannerisms down, and we just thought that was such a key piece to getting under the skin of John a little bit because we’re also talking about a protagonist who’s dead, right? So all we have is the archival stuff that’s there, and he’s not like the most well-documented person either. He’s also not the most dynamic person on camera, of all the footage that we had. So there was a way that we can really fill in the blanks with Alec, as well, to really getting deeper into that character from the level of like an actor trying to understand the motivation of what John might have been thinking at that time, at least Alec’s perception of that, so we just thought that was a great thing to also incorporate.
The Knockturnal: What kind of discussion did you have with Alec about inhabiting the role of DeLorean?
Don Argott: His big thing was he just didn’t want it to be a caricature … if he couldn’t pull off the look properly then he didn’t want to do it. So the makeup and the hair was such a huge component, for him agreeing to do the piece to begin with.
The Knockturnal: Was the title a play on words?
Don Argott: Yes it’s kind of how we portray people, how we frame them. And because this is a film that because it’s so unique in its approach, we felt like it also needed a clever title to help audiences understand what we were trying to do because, right out of the gate, it’s Alec Baldwin in a make up trailer? What the f— is this? I don’t understand what’s going on here?
Sheena M. Joyce: Is this a bio-pic? Is this a doc? Like what are we watching? And we realize it’s a weird one but hopefully people are excited enough and intrigued enough to kind of peel back the layers and go along for the ride with us.
The Sundance Selects release hits theaters on June 7, 2019.
Actress Danielle MacDonald celebrated the Tribeca Film Festival after-party of Skin hosted by AT&T/DVT at TAO Downtown Nightclub. The breakout star paired the Red Premier ¾ Sleeve Wrap Dress from ELOQUII with pastel pink heels, as she celebrated her new film with co-stars Vera Farmiga, Zoe Colletti and Louisa Krause.
The Tribeca Film Festival After-Party for Awards Night was hosted by Status Sparkling Wine and Dream Downtown.