Brett Ratner races Time with DeLorean

John DeLorean DMC-12 modelTime Inc. Studios and XYZ Films have joined the race to mount biopics of John DeLorean, the innovative car engineer who battled legal indictments and designed the DMC-12 model featured in the ‘Back to the Future’ films.

Time joins two other projects aspiring to bring the DeLorean saga to the bigscreen. ‘Rush Hour’ director Brett Ratner is using his first-look deal with India’s Reliance Big Entertainment to set up a DeLorean pic he plans to direct, with James Toback writing the script and Robert Evans producing.

And producer David Permut is working on a DeLorean pic with producer Steven Lee Jones that is using life rights from the late DeLorean’s longtime attorney, Mayer Morganroth.

Time Inc. Studios, which forged a deal with XYZ Films last year to hatch films fueled by underlying rights from articles culled from Time Inc. magazines, kicks off the untitled project with a rights package that includes articles from Fortune and Time; the Hillel Levin-penned DeLorean book “Grand Delusions”; and an unpublished memoir written by DeLorean himself.

Just as important, Time Inc. Studios and XYZ say they have cooperation from the car designer’s longtime friend and business partner Fred Dellis and from DeLorean son Zachary DeLorean, executor of the DeLorean estate.

John DeLorean created the DeLorean Motor Company and built a striking stainless steel sports car with gull-wing doors. Although quite popular at first, the cars had some problems, and, when a recession hit in 1981, the company was left reeling. A year later, DeLorean was arrested in a Los Angeles, California, airport motel with a briefcase containing $24 million dollars worth of cocaine attempting to make a mammoth drug deal in order to rescue his financially ailing company. DeLorean was eventually acquitted. Source: Variety

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