From director Nick Hamm and inspired by true events, the indie drama Driven is a wild tale of the bromance gone wrong between John DeLorean (Lee Pace) and Jim Hoffman (Jason Sudeikis). Set in the early 1980s, the story follows how, out of a desire to save the financially troubled DeLorean Motor Company, the golden boy genius of the automotive industry got caught up with an ex-con pilot turned informant, who lured him into a cocaine trafficking ring set up by the FBI.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Lee Pace talked about his reaction to this unbelievable true story, why he initially didn’t think he was right for this role, his experience with “wig acting,” and how everyone seemed to have their own version of John DeLorean. He also talked about his desire to do a Pushing Daisies reunion (the ABC series went off the air in 2009) and how show creator Bryan Fuller has a cool idea for it, as well as how he’s taking his time to figure out what he’s going to do next, and the current TV series he’d love to do a guest spot on.
Collider: This is one of those stories that’s just so crazy that it seems like there’s no way it could be true. When this came your way and you read this script, what was your reaction to it? Did you have any clue that any of this had happened?
LEE PACE: No, I had no clue. What I knew about the DeLorean was that it’s the car in Back to the Future. That’s really what I knew about it. When I looked at who DeLorean was, I was like, “There’s no way that I can play that guy. I don’t look anything like him. I’m 20 years too young. I don’t know what this director is thinking, but I can’t do this. So, Nick Hamm really had to convince me to do the movie. I was finishing up Halt and Catch Fire, so we talked for months about whether I could do it, and Nick is one of the most persuasive people that I’ve ever met in my life. He is, I think, the main reason this movie got made, through two hurricanes. There’s no reason this movie should ever have been finished. Nick Hamm really has some very DeLorean qualities. He really fought to get this movie made. It was really Nick who convinced me that I could do it. There was actually a moment when I wanted a fake chin for it because I was convinced that I didn’t really look enough like this guy. So, we tried a fake chin, but it was so hot and humid in Puerto Rico, that it was just not gonna work, and it looked ridiculous.
Did it feel like it was all about the hair, then?
PACE: Yeah, for awhile there, it really did feel all about the hair. But then, once it was on, I got used to it and I didn’t really think about it that much. I’m always wearing a wig for movies. I do a lot of wig acting. I like to play characters that look very different than me, so that I can get as far away from myself as possible.
Do you feel like anyone really knew the real John DeLorean, or did everyone just have their own version of who he was?
PACE: I think you put that very well because that’s exactly what I found in my research. I was determined to figure out who the real man was, as I was preparing to play him, and I did so much research. I would really seek out people who knew him and hear their stories about who he was and what he was like and stuff, and you would just hear wildly different accounts about who he is, what he was after, and how he went about making his car company. I really came down to that conclusion, that he was very much a chameleon. Like Steve Jobs, he had this magical way of thinking that was not really based in reality, but was incredible. I really do believe that, if he was able to make the car that he set out to make, it would be something really pretty astonishing, as opposed to the way we talk about the DeLorean now. It’s an incredible piece of design that ultimately was unreliable and a crappy car. It wasn’t a crappy car, as he had designed it. It was an innovative, revolutionary car, much like the cars that he had created before that, the GTO and the Firebird, which you still see on the road now. You still see DeLoreans on the road now, but you definitely ask yourself when it’s gonna break down. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone actually drive one, except on those commercials.