After 15 years off the road, BMW Films is rebooting its now legendary series of short films from the early 2000s which starred actor Clive Owen as “The Driver.”
The original series, titled “The Hire,” featured Owen as a top-notch wheelman with a liking for difficult jobs. It was the first instance of a company producing Hollywood-style action movies in order to promote its products and went on to be wildly successful — even without high-speed internet or YouTube, the series received over 100 million views.
Produced by A-List directors and actors including Gary Oldman, Forest Whitaker, Mickey Rourke, Madonna, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Wong Kar-wai and Guy Ritchie, the series even inspired The Transporter movies starring Jason Statham. Of course, they also starred BMW cars, which Owen whipped and tossed around in ways that annoyed the bad guys and got the missions done with an air of complete calm and cool.
The new short, titled “The Escape,” is being directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) and co-stars Dakota Fanning, Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga. It will be presented as a tribute the original series, which also influenced Blomkamp’s early work.
“I was like, ‘Man, count me in,’ ” Blomkamp told The Hollywood Reporter. “When I was in film school, these films were really groundbreaking. They seemed like the perfect halfway point between commercials and features. I actually emailed the production company as a 20-year-old and was like, ‘I’d really like to make one of these.’ They wrote back, ‘Never contact us again.’ And here I am [laughs].”
The Escape will debut on October 23. If you didn’t see any of the original episodes, check out this handy YouTube playlist of The Hire below.
In other movie news, here’s your first look at the new Jumanji movie starring The Rock, Kevin Hart & Jack Black.