If there’s one thing moviegoers in 2022 are clamoring for, it’s cinematic universes built around late-sixties police procedurals. Nothing beats that classic combination of wooden acting, bland characters, and editing that makes one question the legitimacy of the 1969 Academy Awards. Thankfully, the great minds at Warner Bros are reportedly investing good money into making those dreams a reality by bringing on Steven Spielberg to direct a new Bullitt movie.
Deadline reports that Spielberg, noted director of the 1971 Columbo episode Murder By The Book, is attached to direct a “new original story centered on Frank Bullitt” currently being negotiated at Warner Bros. Josh Singer, a West Wing alum, is reportedly signed on to write. From Deadline:
Insiders say Spielberg had been toying with the idea to direct a film based on the character for some time and came close last year to making it his follow-up to West Side Story, but head to negotiate with the McQueen estate for rights to the character before he would attach as a director. With the negotiations taking longer then expected, Spielberg shifted his focus to directing The Fablemans, the film loosely based on the director’s childhood growing up in Arizona, and moved off of this film.
Once filming wrapped on Fablemans, he circled back to the Bullitt project and recently tapped Singer to pen the script.
The big question, of course, is why. Bullitt is, to use a film industry phrase, “extremely boring and also bad.” Viewers are forced to suffer through approximately one thousand hours of the blandest detective work ever put to film just to be rewarded with the only car chase in cinema to be entirely devoid of stakes, music, or a sense of speed. Are people really clamoring for more of this?
If they are, it’s unclear what they’re getting. The modern tradition of giving a decades-old character a gritty origin story in a film titled with a single word of the character’s name doesn’t really work here — the Bullitt title is already taken. Maybe the new one can save us all the trouble of watching police work and cut the story down to a nice clean Ford ad.