SUTTONS BAY — Northport resident Bill Collins says “Framing John DeLorean” is an honest look at what took place during the years the futuristic DeLorean DMC-12 was taking shape.
The docudrama features several interviews of Collins, who designed the underpinnings of the iconic car that took center stage as the time-warping vehicle in 1985’s “Back to the Future.”
“Framing John DeLorean” will be shown Sunday and Monday at the Bay Community Theatre in Suttons Bay.
Collins, also known as the Father of the Pontiac GTO, will be on hand for a question and answer period after both showings.
The documentary blends old footage of the real John DeLorean and new footage of Alec Baldwin, who stars in the title role. Baldwin is a spot on image of DeLorean, Collins said.
“There are several shots in there that are so good that I’m fooled,” said Collins, who has been visiting the film’s producer Tamir Ardon in Chicago over the last 10 years to be interviewed.
Collins is played by actor Josh Charles.
“Framing John DeLorean” kicks off the Fall Film Series at the Bay, which has a Michigan Mavericks theme this year.
“The whole idea was to bring together stories that really highlight some great Michiganders,” said Rick Andrews, theater board president.
The Bay Community Theatre opened as a nonprofit Jan. 1. One of the questions board members are often asked is whether the theater would continues to have a film series, something former owners the Bahle family did every year.
Sherry Edwards, who is on the theater’s program committee, said Collins approached her to ask if the board would have any interest in showing the DeLorean movie.
“We said that was extremely serendipitous because we were just starting to put together our fall film series,” Edwards said. “We’re very excited about it.”
Along with Collins, Robert Manion, DeLorean engineer, and Don Sherman, of Car and Driver Magazine, will answer questions at the end of the movie. They’ll also sign movie posters that can be had for a suggested donation.
Also showing as part of the Fall Film Series is “Young Hemingway & His Enduring Eden,” about Ernest Hemingway’s years spent in northern Michigan. The film will be shown Nov. 3 and 4. The film’s writer and producer George Colburn will be on hand for a question and answer session.
“Mike Wallace is Here,” a documentary about the legendary newsman, will be shown Dec. 8 and 9, and “Amazing Grace,” about Detroit native Aretha Franklin, will be shown Oct. 13 and Jan. 12.
Collins, an engineer, got to know John DeLorean when he worked under him at the Pontiac Motor Division. In addition to the GTO, Collins worked on the Grand Am and the Firebird.
Collins was with Pontiac from 1958 until 1974, when he left to join the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC), founded by DeLorean in 1973.
“He was an exciting guy to work for,” Collins said. “He was always in favor of trying something new.”
That was a refreshing change from companies that don’t evolve, he said.
“Too many places like that get stuck in the mud and don’t do anything,” he said.
Collins stayed with the DMC for five years, but was forced to resign when the company hired Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, to do the final design work on the DeLorean, the only car it ever produced.
The sleek car, with its distinctive gull-wing doors, got so-so reviews. After production delays and lack of sales, the company was millions of dollars in debt.
In 1982 DeLorean was charged with drug trafficking after scheming with an FBI informant to sell $24 million of cocaine, but was acquitted by a jury after claiming police entrapment. He died in 2005.
Only about 6,000 of the cars were ever made, one of which Collins owns.
Collins said that what often get downplayed in the DeLorean saga is the car itself.
“It’s still extremely good-looking, even today. It’s timeless, despite it being in ‘Back to the Future.’”