Development is well underway to bring the incredible life story of the cheeky, charismatic racing legend Barry Sheene to the silver screen. Universally loved, Sheene was many things, a cockney rebel who always did things his way, a playboy who loved life in the fast lane, and a champion who became an icon. The timing of this project, hot off the back of similar biopic epics 'Senna' and 'Rush' in recent years, is perfect, with this year and next marking the 40th anniversaries of Sheene’s two premier class world championships. You can watch a teaser for 'Sheene' below.
His legacy though was to cheat death twice and win two world championships while fighting the authorities and changing the destiny of the most deadly sport in the world. He survived two horrendous, near-fatal crashes, and is widely credited with transforming Grand Prix motorcycle into a global phenomenon. He also forced through significant changes to the safety of the sport, as well as pushing innovations in rider safety equipment, and suffered one of the most famous motorcycle crashes of all time when at Daytona in 1975.
Using the book ‘Barry: The Story of Motorcycling Legend Barry Sheene’, written by his team-mate Steve Parrish and motorcycling commentator Nick Harris as the basis for the film, world-acclaimed writing team of Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement – ‘The Commitments, ‘The Bank Job’, ‘Flushed Away’ and TV series ‘Porridge’ and ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet, amongst many more – are penning the adaptation for screen. Production is by Will Stoppard of UK firm Deep Springs Pictures, and Rod Morris of IO Films in Australia.
Stoppard commented: “We are thrilled to have screenplay writers of Ian & Dick’s calibre. We knew they would deliver material that portrays the uncompromising larger than life character, coupled with the humour and drama that was never far away from Barry. At the same time they have their finger on the pulse of 1970s enabling them to make the most and capture this fascinating era as the backdrop to the movie.
“It’s a rush to be making a movie about Barry Sheene, bringing his story and legacy to the big screen. For me it all started growing up with a mum who was a doctor at a racetrack. I latched on to the thrill of speed early on, and nothing has changed. When Barry was thrown into the public eye after his Daytona crash I remember feeling a sense of empathy with this intrepid character and he became a childhood hero of mine. I was fascinated with him and the danger of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, it was a buzz. He was a superstar that transcended his sport, someone we all looked up to and lived our dreams through.”
The production team have already released a Sheene teaser video, with more news being added regularly to the Sheene film website and on the their Facebook and Twitter channels.