Movie stars and actors come and go. A few select few stand out, forever. McQueen is one of the elite eternal legends. Here’s why:
- His real life was as adventurous as anything he performed onscreen. Even his childhood circumstances were somewhat..well…unorthodox?
- McQueen is better, bolder and badder than any of us.
- He died young. That is a tragedy, not just ‘tragic’. The lack of completion to his life and work is palpable. Oh to have seen this guy play opposite any number of young pretenders seeking his approbation.
- At the same time? The very fact of Steve dying young gives him a more mythological quality. He is forever 30-40 ish, same way James Dean will always be that rebellious kid or Heath Ledger immortal as Joker. McQueen is eternal, timeless and yet still an earthy, rugged, flesh and blood screen presence. Rebellious teenager adolescent fantasy meets worldly wise distinction.
- Steve convinces in action. Long before Tom Cruise graced screens with his stunts, McQueen was doing as many of his own bike and car set-pieces as possible, in person.
- Blue AND white collar; escapist AND realistic: McQueen was at home in all manner of genre. Yes he had star power but also a versatile range as an actor. Can you believe that the lead in PAPILLON is the same bloke in THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR? Not at first. But it is the same man and he invested in every role he played.
- Many of his movies have scenes that entered the visual shorthand for cinematic cool. THAT chess scene with Faye Dunaway. THE MOTORBIKE JUMPS in THE GREAT ESCAPE! CAR CHASE in BULLITT.
In short? STEVE MCQUEEN IS CINEMA! He personifies star power, acting skill, romantic adventure, ambition and the coolest of impossible cool. If you consider yourself a film fan then you must catch up on his essential contributions to the art-form.