Hollywood has been trying to tell the story of John DeLorean, the creator of the famous, winged “Back to the Future” car, for decades. But Nick Hamm, director of the new film “Driven,” finally found a way to make it work.
DeLorean in the ’80s was implicated in a sting operation when FBI informant James Timothy Hoffman approached him to ask about setting up a cocaine deal. But the case was a set up, and DeLorean was eventually cleared of drug charges.
“This is a man who created his downfall through a huge act of hubris,” Hamm told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at TIFF. “How did he get involved in a terrible FBI entrapment with an absolute lowlife scumbag who was part of his weird social circle?”
Hamm said that while other filmmakers have strived to find a way inside DeLorean himself (played by Lee Pace in the film), he and screenwriter Colin Bateman ultimately found Hoffman’s story, as played by Jason Sudeikis, far more interesting.
“That character seemed to us to be a much more rich vein of a comedy and drama,” Hamm said. “Here was an awful individual who was such a liar and cheat and quite funny.”
In doing so, Hamm played up the more absurd and comedic elements of DeLorean’s personality and the nature of the sting operation.
“We all knew we were surfing that wonderful line between comedy and drama,” Hamm said. “If you can play the drama, and the relationship and the truth of the moment, then the humor comes out of that rather than be placed on top of it. I knew in order to tell this story, you had to do it with humor, you had to do it with a level of wit and a wink.”
Watch TheWrap’s interview with “Driven” director Nick Hamm in the video above.
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Photographed by Corina Marie for TheWrap at the Thompson Toronto