When Steve McQueen died 25 years ago in Juarez, Mexico, he left behind two children, some 30 movies and a legacy as The King of Cool (the title of a documentary about him). He also left behind two custom-made trunks containing 16 leather-bound notebooks full of drawings, photographs from period magazines, and a detailed script continuity - a screenplay without dialogue - written in a kind of hyper-stylized poetry. These materials were his plans for Yucatan, the vanity project he yearned, but failed, to make.As Syndrome said in The Incredibles, "I'm still geeking out about it!"
A heist film and adventure epic, it would have married the sprawling canvas of films like The Great Escape and Papillon with the chase-scene histrionics of Bullitt (transferred to motorcycles, McQueen's lifelong passion) along with some ancient history and visionary science thrown in for good measure.
But to bring it back down to earth for a moment, let's have a look at the picture that accompanies the article:
Listen, I'm one of the biggest fans of The Great Escape you're ever likely to meet, but this seems a little too cheesy for words even for me. I look at that and get flashbacks to Smokey and the Bandit II with Jerry Reed and his posse of twenty semi trucks storming across the desert.
But maybe they want to go for cheese. If so, then the question remains: Is that what McQueen would have wanted? Anybody who has special trunks built to hold over a dozen leather-bound volumes of work is obviously very serious about the material contained therein. Yet after reading over the few details they let slip in the article, I can't see it going any other way. It'll most likely turn out to be something like Sahara, only with a bit more brains and better actors (Truth be told: I haven't seen Sahara, but that is more due to the fact that I generally avoid Penelope Cruz at all cost).
To this end, in terms of straddling the bar between breathtaking epic and action film cheese, allow me to suggest Quentin Tarantino for the directing gig. He's proven with Kill Bill that he can do movies approaching an epic scope, and the history of this particular script just screams for his involvement. He can even hire some washed-up actor from the sixties or seventies to give the film an even more period feel.
Who knows? It could do McQueen proud.