Few left their mark on the automotive industry quite like John Z. DeLorean (1925-2005). As an engineer and executive at General Motors, beginning in the 1950s, he was at the helm of the industry’s successes of the era, including classic Pontiac and Chevrolet car models. Ascending to become the youngest division head in the GM history, DeLorean broke away in 1973 to launch his own company. His signature stainless-steel DeLorean sports car was a notorious flop, though the model would later achieve pop culture infamy as the time-machine in Back to the Future.
In 1982, DeLorean was ensnared in scandal after he was videotaped by the FBI, seemingly willing to bankroll a drug smuggling operation. Though he was acquitted in 1984 after a highly publicized trial, the negative attention was a blow to DeLorean’s reputation. Within a year, his wife Cristina Ferrare filed for divorce.
Directors Sheena M. Joyce and Don Argott (makers of the acclaimed 2009 film The Art of the Steal) were originally consulted to direct a documentary supplement to a feature film about DeLorean. When the biopic fell apart, the directors then endeavored to create a unique and irreverent documentary/feature hybrid, which includes traditional talking heads and archival footage woven in with scripted scenes of actor Alec Baldwin, portraying DeLorean at critical moments throughout the tycoon’s life.
FRAMING JOHN DELOREAN features interviews with a wide range of individuals who knew DeLorean, including former colleagues, employees, lawyers, friends and family. Producer Tamir Ardon appears on camera to contextualize DeLorean’s impact; Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale addresses his signature car’s influence on the zeitgeist; and two of DeLorean’s children, Zach and Kathryn, open up about the complexities of having this iconic, enigmatic man as their father.
Joining Baldwin in the narrative scenes are Morena Baccarin (DEADPOOL, GOTHAM) as Cristina Ferrare and Josh Charles (THE GOOD WIFE, MASTERS OF SEX) as DeLorean’s business partner Bill Collins. The film also showcases Baldwin’s makeup test as he is preparing the role (with assistance from Saturday Night Live’s hair and makeup department) and the actor’s ever-incisive behind-the-scenes commentary on DeLorean’s mythos and whether the truth of a person can be fully known.
FINDING JOHN DELOREAN raises the bar for documentary filmmaking and offers a thrilling, subversive first look at a mysterious, misunderstood man.